Review: INDECENT, Menier Chocolate Factory

The hit play lands in London

By: Sep. 14, 2021
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Review: INDECENT, Menier Chocolate Factory

Review: INDECENT, Menier Chocolate Factory Director Rebecca Taichman and playwright Paula Vogel were both drawn to Sholem Asch's 1907 phenomenon, God of Vengeance. Their Tony-nominated, highly-acclaimed production has landed in London. A show that plays tribute a stage scandal, this is a heartfelt song to something that nearly never was.

Ash's play had dazzled audiences in Europe, before doing the same for Greenwich Village audiences in 1922. It took the world by storm, shocking, confusing and angering people everywhere, but just as it was about to premiere on Broadway, it was revealed that this play might be too provocative. A love scene between two lesbians got deleted from the script - prompting outrage from the troupe.

What Taichman's production does well is showcase so many different genres of performance; we bounce around the globe and watch the closing scene of the infamous piece play over and over again. This is because Vogel's story doesn't just revolve around the Broadway scandal, but the 70-plus-year history that surrounded its conception, growth and close. It allows us to understand the anguish, excitement and pain all involved must have felt - whilst also being a lot more exciting.

The reason why the Menier is such a great location for this piece is because of the intimacy the space provides. I'm sure it would have gone down on the grand stages, but the closeness to the ensemble allows you to see their chemistry. The connection oozes out of them, their passion for the work is contagious. The stage is full of dedication, humour and electricity.

Vogel's structure teases the narrative out in a seamless way, and even though the piece is slow to get off the mark in terms of pacing, it soon finds its stride. Music, dance, song and spoken text work well together to create a very moving piece of performance.

Indecent at Menier Chocolate Factory until 27 November

Photo: Johan Persson


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