Ode to the Enhanced
As the play has already been reviewed in the mainstream press, I will avoid a plot rehashing. But, suffice it to say the main theme is society's obsession with plastic surgery and its resulting generic templates of beauty. With so many Botoxed, Propeciaed, Lasiked and breast-augmented around, the suggestion is that all individuality and identity is lost. Think Jessica Simpson. Who? Precisely.
So when the protagonist of The Ugly One turns to a plastic surgeon to refashion his 'ugly face' the implication is that he is breaking a basic human covenant: that we each suffer whatever genetics we were given. The assumption being that the playing field is fair in the big picture, that some of us are born beautiful smart and talented and it somehow gets balanced out by being Michael Lohan's daughter.
But is it really fair? Or rather is there not also danger in conforming to the idea there is danger in conforming? Is redesigning your body any more an affront to nature than wearing make-up or a Wonder bra? Shouldn't it be okay to use technology to compete? Think Barry Bonds. Shouldn't a man who can only hit a home run every once 16 at bats be allowed to hit a home run every nine bats? Or a politician use Botox to beat out a younger wrinkle-free opponent? Isn't that what Jefferson meant when he wrote that whole "pursuit of happiness" thing? Or do you really think the guy was just talking about stamps and tea?
The Ugly One
Royal Court, Jerwood Theatre Upstairs
£10-£15, Until 13 Oct
020 7565 5000