In an age where graphic material of any ilk can be accessed at the mere touch of a button, this latest production from Glasgow-based theatre company Flatrate, addressing the taboos of pornography and the porn industry, is remarkably relevant.
Stephen Redman’s brash yet ultimately sensual showcase The Zeros Keep Going explores the impact of sexually explicit media upon both society and the individual.
Consequently, through tackling its subject matter head-on, albeit in a humorous and light-hearted manner, the audience is made aware of the role of porn in the world today: from both a male and female perspective.
To this end, the aptly-named Tony Stylez Richard Gadd delivers a firm performance as a stereotypical industry star, as do his – equally suitably titled – female counterparts, Lexi Kimbo Louise Stewart and Jessica Allcock Caeley Elcock.
The corrosive nature of pornography is subtly reinforced as, with glazed eyes, the protagonists look into the illuminated lens of a digital camcorder (the same one used for family holidays?) only to be unwittingly projected as anonymous, transfixed silhouettes.
Scores from Blur and emerging Scottish fivesome Frightened Rabbit provide a tranquil musical backdrop to scenes of solitude and reflection, whilst a harsh remix of Samuel Barber's elegiac Adagio for Strings underpins encounters of a more Ugandan nature.
Redman’s 90-minute piece is certainly thought-provoking – consistently entertaining and shocking if, at times, a tad disjointed. There are a number of hilarious, though perhaps somewhat overdone, points of audience participation, and although the play examines both sides of the coin; from the fact that the films in focus “ain’t love” but rather “adolescent fantasy” to notions of feminism; whether or not it hits the mark is, in similar fashion to the ‘glass ceiling’, up in the air.
A generally light-hearted depiction of pornography which deals with the controversy it arouses, The Zeros Keep Going raises many questions and provides few answers. It is left with the audience to arrive at their own conclusions – quite correctly, given that they are the consumers.
- Jamie Kempton