When I walked into Live Theatre, despite having sat in one of the rehearsals for #MouthingOff, I wasn’t one hundred percent sure what to expect.
The opening rant from host and director John Scott was a great way to open the night with jokes about students, areas of Newcastle and UKIP. However, the show did leave more to be desired.
Now don’t get me wrong, the jokes were there, the laughs from the audience were there and the charismatic performances from the young people on stage were also there. But was it good? Well, if you’re anti-feminist, anti-vegan and a fan of jokes referencing domestic violence and rape, aye it was canny. But, as much as I wanted to enjoy it, it was not to my taste.
There was a time when I would watch TV panel shows with my Dad and he would tell me to “lighten up” whenever someone made a joke I found offensive. That was OK when I was fourteen and thought my Dad knew everything about the world. But now I know he doesn’t, I feel comfortable in saying that #MouthingOff was not the uplifting ‘satirical look at our current affairs and the people that make them’ I thought it would be.
I don’t think that anti-feminism is something that should be glorified the way it was on Saturday night. No, there aren’t two types of feminist. You’re a feminist if you want men and women to have equal rights. You could even be a man to want this, believe it or not.
I also don’t think it is OK to comment on the death certificate of a man in terms of his percentage of male vs. female. What is that? That’s not a thing. Or it shouldn’t be. And while I’m on, commenting on his racial split is equally inappropriate. Yes I am talking about Michael Jackson, when are people going to get tired of Jackson jokes anyway?
Coming from a very working-class background, I found some of the “poor people” jokes incredibly offensive. Both of my parents were ridiculously underpaid when I was born and the fact that these jokes were able to be on stage is a bit of an issue to me.
Building on this point and flipping it on its head, however, I was very much a fan of Davey Hopper’s appearance in the Ask the Activist round. Having the hilarious opinion from the leader of the Durham miners was an amazing experience and he said some very inspiring words about a part of history incredibly important to Northern culture.
Also, the fact that this was a platform for four talented young people to put across their personal views is really very good. Hearing the hilarious holiday stories of Kirsty as well as her experience of working in Primark, for instance, was very entertaining. I also thought it was cool that you could tell that each person was able to express themselves in their own way due to their casual costume and very varied subject matters, giving Stephan, Sophie, Kirsty and Luke their own identity.
Now don’t get me wrong, if I have missed the point and these points were not meant in the way I picked up, I apologise. But I did leave the theatre with a slight sour taste in my mouth about the way some things were handled on the stage. I don’t – however – think everyone in the theatre shared my opinion as, after conversations with other viewers, I realise a lot of people really enjoyed the night. If it is your thing, and you think that I am too easily offended, then that is fair enough.
By Fionn Oakes #LYTFest14 blogger