This isn’t a sponsored post.
BrumHour saw It’ll Be Alt-Right on the Night with thanks to The Old Joint Stock.
By Eleanor Lawson twitter.com/elle_lawson
It’ll Be Alt-Right on the Night at
Old Joint Stock
Directed by Jonny Kelly, written and performed by Matthew Greenhough
Greenhough narrates us through the lives of two friends: Greeny and Steevo have been at each other’s side since they were children in Sheffield, falling in love with punk together, the two of them against the world.
The two drift apart when Greeny becomes a student and moves to the land of the liberal elite – London, while Steevo is stranded, mopping up bodily fluids as a janitor at the local hospital. Greeny is enraged at the injustices of the world, becoming a self-proclaimed social justice warrior, though he never goes on any marches. Steevo watches alt-right Youtubers and seethes at the fact he feels as if he’s at the back of the queue in his own country. Tensions simmer until they explode.
The schism that lies between the left and the right is evident to everyone, both in the show and the audience. When the show concludes, the left-wing character’s admission that maybe he is as reprehensible as the friend whose politics he despises, a woman in the audience vocally agreed with him. Even after a play about the difficulties of navigating different political worldviews, it’s a thought too raw for many in the audience.
It is, after all, a fight many of us face on a day to day basis. Matthew Greenhough makes us question what we do when we love someone whose politics we hate.
Music propels the play forward: it’s a story of music and friendship. When you walk into the small, intimate room, you have to climb over seven inch LPs to get to your seat and stare at them reverently as you wait for the show to start. Each vignette is broken up by Greenhough pulling out a new record and placing it on the record player. But Greenhough is not so precious with the records, crushing them as he paces the room, and the friendship between Greeny and Steevo with them.
Greenhough is a talented performer, a nervous bundle of energy as the equally sensitive and outraged Greeny, increasingly furious as the disempowered Steevo. His body moves alarmingly as he dances to the records, jerking along to the tracks of the two friend’s adolescence until things spiral out of control and his movements are frenetic. He holds you in the palm of his hand for an hour, and invests you in this broken relationship with just his words.
But it’s the writing that makes the production so brilliant. It’s a script so poetic in its comedy that I kept feeling the urge to pull the sentences right from his mouth onto the pages of a notebook. From dyspraxic octopuses to the cultural representations of sadness being Eeyore and Morrisey, each word is unmissable.
There was a time when your politics could be invisible. Today, it’s not really possible. Greenhough’s play reaches out to the dilemma that each of us faces when we’re so convinced that we’re right, and the people we love are wrong.
It’ll Be Alt-Right on the Night is at the Old Joint Stock until 12th October. Book tickets here: oldjointstock.co.uk/whats-on/itll-be-alt-right-on-the-night
Discover more about Wound Up Theatre here: wounduptheatre.com
This isn’t a sponsored post.
Eleanor Lawson produces Interval Theatre Tuesdays at 3pm on Brum Radio.