Daniel B Yates
Similarly theatrical is the recognition that the human body is a symbolic site - be it dancing in the confines of kettle-raves, sportsday in Topshop, the spontaneous choreography of facing an armoured police line, or being violently dragged from a wheelchair. Indeed, when Cameron decries ‘the mob’, he is like a particularly insensitive critic, failing or refusing to grasp the nature of a very complex and energetic ensemble piece.
This afternoon’s matinee audiences would have been coming of age in the throes of the sexual revolution, and those lines of blue rinses were precisely the middle-class benefactors of its flowery excesses. Later generations wouldn’t have seen love as so doggedly essentialised, and Coward’s subtext of immutability and courtly linguistic swooning feels very dated indeed.
Where Willy Russell might have stood twenty years ago giving voice to the national ordinary, now reality shows and their techniques - from gameshows to docusoaps to news programmes - increasingly proclaim their democratic victory, telling us we are finally reflected to ourselves. Yet even a cursory glance at these claims reveals their emptiness.