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Chris High review: Pool (no water) 2006

Pool (no water)
By Mark Ravenhill

Produced By: Frantic Assembly
Mark Rice-Oxley, Keir Charles, Clair Davis, Leah Muller
Liverpool Everyman Theatre
Thursday 12th October, 2006

Pool (no water): 2006 promotional image


Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website

Complicated thing, Modern Art. You either “get” what it is straight away or else its “somebody” trying to “make a name for themselves” by being “controversial” or “topical”. With Mark Ravenhill, who also wrote the excellent The Cut, what you see is very definitely not what you get and his new play, Pool (no water) is made all the more “interesting” for it.

A famous artist invites her old friends out to her luxurious new home and, for one night only, the group is back together. However, the celebrations soon come to an abrupt end when the host suffers a horrific accident that forces her into a coma. It is then that a diabolical idea takes shape: could this be her guest’s next work of art?

Pool (no water) is, without question, shocking. With scenes of graphic sex, below-the-waist nudity and intense profanity, this not a play for the meek. Yet with that said, neither is it a play to be missed.

This is very clever theatre. Indeed if there is a criticism to be levelled at the production then it is that, at times, the play is too clever for its own good and leaves the audience a little fazed as a result. With a set that swaps perfectly between an empty swimming pool and a hospital room and with music from Imogen Heap – she of The Chronicles Of Narnia – to add to the atmosphere, how could it be anything but?

Essentially, this is a story of friendship and loyalty versus personal gain and egotism. A real case of life imitating art, if you will, which doesn’t really answer all of the questions it sets itself, but instead poses more.

In a week that has seen a giant slide being fitted into the Tate Modern in the name of Art and “expression” (and undoubted financial gain for the “artist”), perhaps the art-world really has gone totally bonkers at last. A point illustrated clearly in this fine – if over elaborate – piece of thought provoking drama.

Everyman Liverpool Playhouse official website



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“Writing gets me away for a while' from this world and into one where I, alone, can make or
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