Titania Gethsemane McGrath is “a spoof radical intersectionalist poet”. When I read that before the show, I was puzzled. What on earth is an intersectionalist? It was not long before I found out. Titania is an authority on all things woke, and the audience were to be treated to a lecture on wokery. While waiting for the show to begin, however, our ears were bombarded by a cacophany of drum-`n-bass and such like, played at maximum volume. Was this meant to soften up the audience, so that the relief when it stopped would enhance the enjoyment of the show itself? I would have enjoyed the show anyway, even without the blessed relief when the din stopped. I hope this is not a regular feature of productions at the Leicester Square Theatre.
There was a warm-up act before the main attraction, namely Titania’s progenitor, the comedian Andrew Doyle. He knows a thing or two about wokery all right, having written books about it. His theme was the intolerance of other people’s views, which has led to things like ‘cancel culture’, ‘no platforming’ and the removal of statues which nobody had paid much attention to before. If that sounds a bit serious, the way he put it across certainly wasn’t. Doyle is a consummate stand-up, and I loved the way he threw in the possibility that the stories he had just told about himself and his family were completely untrue. He went down a bomb, and there was an explosion of hip-hop cacophony when he left the stage.
I was half-expecting the lovely Ms McGrath to be Doyle in drag, but she (they?) turned to be an actual (uh?) woman – or womxn, as Titania would prefer. The format of a lecture, complete with lectern and slides, might not sound like uproarious entertainment, but if university lectures were like this, students would be signing up for Gender Studies in droves. Learning was never such fun, and I never knew there were so many genders, and so many pronouns. Titania is a bit of a show-off, and she was raring to show off her talent as a poet, or to be more precise, a ‘slam’ poet. This was a new one on me, but the poems were delivered with all the bravado, outrageous rhymes and relentless pace of a regular rap-artist, as well as conjuring up grotesque images of body parts and functions. Slam dunk, indeed!
Last night’s performance was the second of only two previews before MXNIFESTO was due to open at the Garrick Theatre. Unfortunately, that run has had to be cancelled (because of renovations at the theatre, not because of any shortcomings in the show). Indeed, the show must go on, and when it finds a new location, go for it!