Rafe Spall is a revelation… yet more exceptional young acting talent at the Court… persistently engrossing
— Evening Standard
Spall’s darkly glittering performance
Sorry, am I out of turn? Am I not being, am I not being PC enough? Coz if I’m not just tell me and I’ll. Keep it. Schtum
Frank is an ordinary bloke who likes smoking, history and playing House of the Dead 3. He can put up with his job on a cinema kiosk until a new supervisor arrives who is younger than him. And Asian.
Alaska is a play about race, sex and purity. This is DC Moore’s first play.
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Dates in May
|Thu 24 May 2007||12:00am||Jerwood Theatre Upstairs|
Sold out Performances
Bruising picture of bigotry
Kieron Quirke, Evening Standard, 30th May 2007
Portrait of a Racist As A Young Man would have been a derivative but more fitting title for DC Moore’s inquisitive, workmanlike drama, brought to life by yet more exceptional young acting talent at the Court.
Frank is the bigot in question, an intense university drop-out whose brooding aura is a magnet to workmates at his local cinema. Even new recruit Mamta wants him, flirting artlessly, increasingly confused as to why he won’t respond to her charms. He eventually reveals his darker side, and lives to regret it.
Frank is not playing at troubled youth – - inside, he is indeed a mess of frustrations and sexual confusion. Rafe Spall, son of Timothy, is a revelation in the role. Smarting from failure at college and with Christine Bottomley’s beautifully tender-hearted Emma, he hides at first behind blank cool, then bullying aggression, then finally fiery, rhetorical assertions of a racist creed rooted in clouded knowledge of world politics.
The assertion that racism is a by-product of insecurity is a little cosy – but Moore offers other, studiously highlighted insights into the phenomenon. When Frank is beaten up, there emerges the question of what racism justifies, whether the defence of liberal ideas is just another form of power abuse. Meanwhile, Frank’s hideously vapid fellow students and the mindless TV blasting from Fred Meller’s set encourage us to wonder that, even if Frank’s world view is dangerously misguided, at least he has a worldview. Persistently engrossing then, though I can’t quite work out what Alaska has to do with it.
Lloyd Evans, The Spectator. 9th June 2007
The new writer D.C. Moore has a different take on Jewish history. His lead character Frank, an eloquent racist, explains that the people whom Moses led out of Egypt werent Hebrews – thats a misreading – but ‘hapi ru’, literally the people of light, i.e., ‘the white people’. Thus Gods chosen ones are also the master race. This creaky old conspiracy theory is given a dazzling new overhaul in this exceptionally challenging and well-built play. Rafe Spalls Frank is a chilling and forceful intellectual who berates his Indian boss over her political correctness. ‘Cos Im white you care more about what I say than about what all those billions of black and brown f * * *ers actually do. To each other. To themselves. Why?… You know deep down that Im better than you so you expect more. Demand more.’ Inflammatory stuff. What a pity TV could never air such views. Wed never get through the apologies afterwards. Alaska is a small play handling big ideas deftly, perceptively and thrillingly. Theres impressive work from Fiona Wade and Christine Bottomley, and Rafe Spall gives a truly masterful portrait of a dehumanised loner. Hats off to the Royal Court.
Alaska, Royal Court Theatre, Upstairs, London
By Alice Jones
Published: 05 June 2007
There’s a real buzz at Sloane Square at the moment and with Alaska, the sixth play by a first-time writer to open at the Royal Court since Dominic Cooke took over the helm in January, the wave of success looks set to continue. D C Moore’s debut is a searing and uncomfortable probing of prejudice in all its forms, from the offensive jokes and lazy stereotyping which pepper idle conversation to the out and out racist rants of the play’s anti-hero.
This bigot is Frank, a university drop-out who now works at the local multiplex where he spends his breaks smoking and playing Dictators Top Trumps. It’s only when Mamta, an “Asian Babe” arrives and becomes his boss that he gives full vent to his white supremacist beliefs. And he makes a nasty habit of forcing his views on anyone who will listen, much as he forces unwanted cigarettes, booze and, occasionally, sex on them too.
His only ally is Emma, a fellow cinema-worker whose good nature leads her to spend sympathy nights with Frank. But does her behaviour conceal an amoral desire for a smooth passage through life? And is Mamta’s violent reaction to Frank’s jibes justified? Moore’s play is packed with questions and while some of the ends are tied up a little too neatly, his writing packs a punch.
Rafe Spall (son of Timothy) puts in a thrilling performance as the petulant and sexually magnetic, if confused, Frank. It’s brilliantly observed – from the manic glint in his eye to the tetchy rocking on his heels, he can barely contain his grievances with the world. There’s a wonderful moment when he’s told that Emma only sleeps with him because she feels sorry for him and his clenched jaw muscles go into a kind of spasm.
The rest of the young cast are consistently good as well. Sebastian Armesto is hilariously awkward as the privileged floppy-haired fresher and both Christine Bottomley and Thomas Morrison put in moving performances as Frank’s loyal mates. And, while a little slow to get going, Fiona Wade as Mamta gives almost as good as she gets when faced with the full, bile-filled might of Frank’s ravings. But this is Spall’s night – an exciting performance and an exciting evening. Just as it should be at the Royal Court.