hit.¹ That word forms the punchline to roughly half the jokes in The God of Soho
so it's Chris Hannan's own fault if it's the word people think of when they remember his new play at Shakespeare's Globe. The venue doesn't have the best track record with new commissions (last year's Anne Boleyn
being an exception) and for their "The Word Is God" season they attempt to dispel their family-friendly image with a play full of swearing, sex and nudity² in which the goddess of love, Clem (Iris Roberts) is expelled from Heaven and becomes homeless on the London streets. She meets a tabloid-baiting celebrity couple (Edward Hogg and Emma Pierson) and gets caught up in their lives. Meanwhile Clem's parents Big God and Mrs God (Phil Daniels and Miranda Foster, the latter saddled with a colostomy bag as her sole character point) miss her and follow her to Earth.
The idea of celebrity as a religion is not a new one, which is a shame as it's the only coherent idea the play has. Raz Shaw's production does have some funny moments - Pierson's facial expressions in her and Hogg's sex scene being a highlight - and some decent performances, including Roberts (last seen in the Donmar's Spelling Bee
) as the Scouse love goddess, and Globe regular Jade Williams as Natty's sister. Plus Michael Camp's pecs provide some distraction in the second half. But I struggled to see the point of any of it. I knew that 3rdspearcarrier
had left this show at the interval, and he's the only person I know who struggled through to the end of Government Inspector
so he's obviously got more stamina than most.³ But although I wasn't exactly excited for the second half I wasn't tempted to leave myself, hoping that Hannan might be able to pull the strands together. But there were noticeably more empty seats after the interval, and this was Press Night when the place is packed out with friends and family, so I imagine on a regular night there'd be even more of the audience cutting their losses.The God of Soho
by Chris Hannan is booking until the 30th of September at Shakespeare's Globe.
¹I did seriously consider making that the entire review, just for the lulz.
²it's female nudity, don't get excited. I sometimes wonder if I should do a female equivalent of my scrolling male nudity alert. Something like
³or he's just a glutton for punishment