REVIEWSREVIEWS BYTheatre ReviewsTom Williams

The Censor

By Anthony Neilson

The Censor by Anthony Neilson

Directed by Mike Rice

Produced by Ebb and Flow Theatre

At 1142 W. Lawrence in the basement

Sensual, stimulating and seductive tale of  the ultimate meaning of sex an eerie experience

Director Mike Rice found an unusual place to mount a show. He greets audience members in his terrific apartment on the second floor at 1142 W. Lawrence in Uptown steps from the Redline stop.  Just before the show starts, we are lead to the musty apartment house basement where chairs are set up in an “L” with a desk to complete the shape. Talk about an eerie location for a provocative play!

The Censor by anthony neilson

Rice has selected a disturbing work, Anthony Neilson’s 1997 play – The Censor. Neilson is one of the bad guys of the British “in-yer-face” theatrical movement that includes Sarah Kane and Mark Ravenhill. These writers use vulgar, shocking and confrontational material and theatricality to reach their audiences. The effect is evident in Neilson’s The Censor.

The Censor by anthony neilson

We meet John Gray as The Censor as he details all the pornographic action in a new film as he documents the illegal action that his fictional Board of Censors will certainly ban. Miss Fontaine (Geraldine Dulex) visits the Censor to try to persuade him to understand the real meaning of film. She quickly seduces the uptight Censor with her sexual process. Amazingly, the actors manage to act out several sexy scenes that titillated effectively without any nudity. That reinforces my belief that stimulating the audiences imagination is more powerful that flaunting naked bodies.

The Censor by anthony neilson

Playwright Neilson explores the psychological seduction that can over power a person as their sexual fears and phobias are exposed. John Gray gives a strong and believable performance as the wound-too-tight Censor confronting his sexual demons.  The 75 minute one act makes the case that sexual liberation can free mankind from the restraints of using sex only for procreation.  Miss Fontaine graphically makes her case with the Censor.

While slightly overwritten and needing a trim, The Censor is a maddeningly enticing work that surly will stimulate your views as to the role of sex and physical intimacy. Neilson’s provocative drama is a taboo-breaking work.


Tom Williams

At 1142 W. Lawrence, Chicago, IL, call 773-469-5608,  tickets $10,  Fridays and Saturdays at 9 pm, special industry night on Nev. 8 at 8 pm, running time is 75 minutes without an intermission.

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