The Last Bordello addresses provocative matters
- Gareth K Vile
- 2 February 2018
David Leddy challenges audience expectations with his distinct theatrical identity
David Leddy has forged a distinctive theatrical identity, connecting high concepts and broad humour and, as in The Last Bordello, challenging audience expectations. Promising his familiar mixture of references to classical texts and contemporary concerns, The Last Bordello features a Latin mass flavoured with secret gay slang and a notorious red-light district, Barcelona's Barrio Chino, in the 1930s.
Leddy's previous production, Coriolanus Vanishes, examined the nature of evil: this time, he addresses more provocative matters: the fragility of masculinity and the fetishisation of sexual abuse. Unlike the solo of Coriolanus, however, The Last Bordello has a large and fascinating cast of characters, from a neurotic madame, through a schoolgirl who believes she can resell her virginity night after night, to a sailor who carries his typewriter to the docks where he writes dirty stories between servicing clients. Set in a warzone, the night before the bordello is to be demolished, the characters find themselves drawn into a series of surreal parlour games.
Leddy's work is never for the easily offended, but the provocation of his scenario and sly humour is a vehicle for a passionate belief in the potential of theatre for communicating urgent and profound ideas.
Tron Theatre, Glasgow, Tue 13–Sat 16 Feb; Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh, Wed 21–Sat 24 Feb.