Scotsman Assembly, Edinburgh
August, 2002

*** Story behind the legendary porn film almost hits the spot

Following pieces about wrestling and Radio 1, actor Alex Lowe and writer Simon Garfield's latest "truth-behind" show is less sure-footed.

Lowe is first-rate at character narration: telling us a story whilst also taking on the persona of someone inside it. Here, he mostly plays Harry Reems, the stationery store owner-turned-porn star who was Linda Lovelace's, er, foil in the movie in question. As a washed-up, alcoholic Reems narrates his and Linda's stories, Catherine Parkinson shifts from being reems's rollder-skating sidekick to playing Lovelace herself, and the show grows darker as the misfortunes of the two become more apparent.

It's the transition from cheesy to sombre that doesn't quite work. The midnight audience wants its laughs to be more straightforward, and aren't prepared (or, perhaps, even in a fit state) to invest the thought necessary to take on all that Lowe and Garfield are trying to do. Despite these reservations, though, this is anything but the crass exploitation that the title might lead you to expect: it's a well researched and crafted piece, that ultimately just fails to come off.

Written for

Copyright © Ian Shuttleworth; all rights reserved.

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