Oh, the Humanity and other Good Intentions

Oh, the Humanity and other Good Intentions

From James Murdoch's deftly bland performance at the Leveson Inquiry to pretty much anything David Beckham has ever said, the measured banality of modern public figures is a source of both frustration and – as TV's 'The Thick of It' so beautifully captures – hilarity.

In 'Oh, the Humanity', American playwright Will Eno has written a beautifully poetic, slipperily hilarious five-part takedown of asinine public talk. In the first skit, set at a press conference, John Kirk's football coach attempts to creatively explain his team's failure in such dejected tones that you wish he'd break down in tears and just admit he's fucked up.

Later on, at the show's comic apex, the excellent Lucy Ellinson plays the spokeswoman for an airline, utter, utter panic in her eyes as she attempts to express her sympathy – at excruciating length – for the victims of a recent air disaster. Eno's characters are trapped in a hilariously ghastly limbo between the public hunger for soundbites and a professional inability to say anything controversial.

A hit at the Edinburgh Fringe, director Erica Whyman's exquisitely deadpan UK premiere is superbly acted by its battered-looking cast of three and is a gratifyingly bold piece of programming for the Soho's main space.

If you're hungry for another hit of Eno's wry poetry, check out his Pulitzer-nominated 'Thom Pain', currently running at the Print Room.


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