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Porno Chic (Kings Arms, Salford)

Porno Chic is fascinating and unmissable, at the Kings Arms in Salford until Saturday.

Rating: 5 out of 5 stars
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© Vertigo

Vertigo Theatre Company are back and tackling another difficult subject, that of the first real porn film in 1970s America. Before that sexually explicit films, or 'stag' films as they were known, were couched as science or educational.

The film Deep Throat was filmed over a week in 1972 and was the first film to combine graphic sex with an actual narrative. However the actual filming is a tiny part of this play, instead it focuses on the impact the film had on the lives on three people involved; Director Gerald (Gerry) Damiano, female lead Linda Lovelace and male lead Harry Reems.

Herbert Streicher was a struggling actor when he started doing stag films to supplement his income. He was persuaded to take the lead in a film which he believed would change his lives and lead to greater stardom.

Unfortunately, the stigma and ensuing notoriety instead led to alcoholism, more porn films and a trial where he was found guilty of distribution of illegal material.

Richard Allen takes on the central role of Harry Reems with a conviction and passion, showing the man not the image. His deterioration into a homeless drunk is skillfully portrayed.

But he is brilliantly supported by the rest of the cast, Hannah Ellis, Stuart Reeve, Ciara Tansey, Ash Preston, Andrew Marsden and Paul Worral who play the other hundred odd characters beween them. Hannah Ellis is excellent as Linda, groundbreaking performer and abused wife.

Writer/Directors Craig Hepworth and Adele Stanhope have created a show with great impact which also provides a fascinating insight into the start of the sexual revoludtion of the movie industry and it's unmissable.

Porno Chic is at the Kings Arms, Salford until 29 November.

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