It seems redundant to comment on the title – everybody already has – but it’s a good’n isn’t it? I Keep A Woman In My Flat Chained To A Radiator. It really grabs your attention, and gets you by the throat, much like the writing in this dark new comedy by (another great name) Theatre, Apparently. Full of risqué humour and near-to-the-knuckle gags, I think for me the truly hysterical thing about this show is this: it’s probably the most offensive play at this year’s Fringe, and not a single review so far has even come close to mentioning its flippant banter-filled references to rape.
Because (if we can all be serious for a moment) rape is not a vehicle for comedy. Rape isn’t particularly funny.
So when Stephen, our bumbling, loveable abductor-hero, begins to sheepishly ask the woman he has chained up if he’s any good in the sack, and her response is something along the lines of ‘Well, I was more preoccupied with getting raped at the time,’ you have to ask yourself: is this is really a ribald and raunchy black comedy which puts you in mind of Charlie Brooker? Or is it appalling, dangerous and deeply, deeply offensive? I personally would say the latter, but of course, each to their own. And I would imagine that as a young company with a witty, dark satirical (probably very ironic) sense of humour, they probably don’t mind getting a rise from a few rape gags. I imagine it makes them feel a bit like Frankie Boyle. Pushing boundaries. Being a bit cheeky.
This isn’t so much a play as a contraption for Alex Wells-King’s stand-up routine, to which Maggie (Monica Forero) is an unwilling audience member. It’s like a fantasy played out onstage; him making quips about bags for life and bags for death, while she is forced to sit and listen. That’s not to say Forero isn’t active in their conversations, it’s just that her part is fairly limited to massaging his ego and reassuring him about his looks – and more importantly, his penis. Topics of conversation include, ‘What is a stereotypical black name?’ and a discussion about whether or not Stephen is a feminist. It’s crass and vulgar and often offensive, but of course it’s supposed to be all of those things. So if that’s your thing, go and see it! After all, it has an amusingly long name. He he he. What more could you want?