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Northern Stage promise to offend with new play

Lorne Campbell directs David Ireland's new play, I Promise You Sex and Violence which will debut at the Edinburgh Festival on July 31

Esther McAuley
Fraser Ayers and Esther McAuley

A “brutally funny and frankly pretty offensive new play by David Ireland” is the description selling Northern Stage’s new production.

And just in case you’re in doubt of the subject matter from this cards-on-the-table line of marketing blurb, the title of the show, I Promise You Sex and Violence, offers a double underlining.

So, not for the easily or even sometimes offended, then.

But for everyone else, this promises to be a hilarious, sexy and challenging romantic comedy about three fractured individuals who are unsure of their place in the world and how to occupy wherever it is.

Directed by Northern Stage artistic director, Lorne Campbell, the production – said to be Ireland’s most ambitious to date – is heading Northern Stage’s 2014 Edinburgh Festival programme in their new home at King’s Hall.

Keith Fleming - L and writer David Ireland are Heading Northern Stages 2014 Edinburgh Festival programme
Keith Fleming - L and writer David Ireland are Heading Northern Stages 2014 Edinburgh Festival programme

The month-long residency north of the border follows two successful stays at St Stephen’s in the Scottish capital in 2012 and 2013.

Now for the company’s 2014 visit, this provocative rom-com promises to set the emotional and sexual no-limits confusion of urban 30-somethings against a political satire of racism, sexism and homophobia. Highlighting the dangers of fearing ‘the other’, which is sharply relevant in the run up to the independence vote, the timing and placement of the production’s premiere is no accident.

Lorne says: “It’s very, very funny, it’s very very offensive and it’s actually very romantic.

“It’s a romantic comedy about three broken people who don’t know what they are and don’t know how to behave.

“The characters’ actions are desperate and extreme, their language is racist, misogynistic and homophobic and the story follows through on the title’s promise to be both sexy and violent.

“David Ireland is one of Britain’s most exciting dramatists and I think this play is his best yet,” he continues.

“What is so exciting about his writing is that in the middle of all this carnage, of all of this extremity, this is a thoughtful, moral and humane play.

“It’s about how and why we love, about the kindness, understanding and profound tolerance that are absolute necessities for any civilised society.”

I Promise You Sex and Violence will play as part of the Northern Stage at King’s Hall Edinburgh Festival season from July 31 to August 23 at 41a South Clerk Street, Edinburgh. Performances start at 6.35pm. Tickets, priced at £11-14 (£8-11 conc), are available from the box office on 0131 477 6630 or online at www.northernstage.co.uk. The production will return to Northern Stage, Newcastle, from September 5-20. Call 0191 230 5151 to book. Age restriction: Strictly 18+


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