Friday, October 29, 2010

With nerves steeled by years of critical dedication, O.C. Weekly's Joel Beers sat through the entirety of SHOPPING & FUCKING last Sunday and emerged on the other side with another trenchantly observant review grasped tight in hand:
Make no mistake: Though Shopping and Fucking gets a great deal of notoriety from its unceasing parade of horrifyingly violent and hardcore sexual scenes, it’s a play about money—how people who crave it will do just about anything to get it and what the reckless pursuit of it does to their souls.
Ravenhill peppers his gruesome, albeit very funny at times, play with everything from allusions to The Lion King to armchair theories of codependency. But commerce drives nearly every exchange—peddling Ecstasy tabs, resorting to phone sex to deal with debt, paying for sex in order to keep it a transaction rather than an emotional connection.
Helmed by Weekly arts contributor Dave Barton (who also directed the 2001 Rude Guerrilla production), Monkey Wrench’s staging doesn’t shy away from Ravenhill’s uncompromisingly savage tone. There is no attempt to soften the violence or hardcore sexuality, and there is a good reason why eight people walked out of the show during its first two weekends: Most people have real problems with watching private perversions and gruesome fantasies unleashed anywhere other than on their computer monitors or in their own imaginations....
[Y]ou might find it difficult to like Shopping and Fucking. But it’s doubtful you’ll walk away not thinking about what you just witnessed. Maybe those thoughts will lead you to question capitalism further. Perhaps they’ll help you to define your standards of what is offensive. Or maybe you’ll just want to jack off. Whatever. But there’s no denying Shopping and Fucking will leave some kind of impression—and it most definitely will not look like indifference.
Read the whole piece, rife with Beers' sharp insights, here.

And tickets? Why yes, still very much available. $20 General, $10 students, buy online or cash at the door. Under 17? No FUCKING for you.
--O.C. Weekly
Reviewed by Joel Beers

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