'A neon nightmare serial killer story that plays out in the media, funny, shocking and thought provoking'
Front page news, multi award writer/director Craig Hepworth and multi award winning Vertigo Theatre Productions (Porno Chic, Last Dance, Noir, Watching Goldfish Suffocate, Ascension) are set to unleash their killer new play Fake News at the Kings Arms.
Despite the title it isn't quite what you might expect. Craig explains; "We hear the words 'fake news' thrown around by the current President, however don't worry this is not a Trump play...but does link to his presidency in quite a funny way. I was more inspired by the journalists who did actually plant fake news stories for their own personal professional gain."
Set in New York City 1989, Fake News taps into the positivity of the time. The lively and vivacious epoch is vividly brought to life. There's a booming economy that everyone wants a piece of; none more so than protagonist Benjamin Davenport II. The play's central character is the larger than life son of a legendary journalist.
"As a writer and director it's always exciting to immerse yourself into this world you're creating" says Craig "Also the lead character, played to perfection by Richard Allen, is so awful in some of the things he says and does that it can be thrilling to get away with such things.
"Also, we are having fun in rehearsals putting this crazy play together and working with my co owner/partner to design this neon nightmare world it will play out on" he adds.
Benjamin lacks the investigative brilliance of his father, but trades on his name and manages to talk his way in to a job at a prestigious news publication. However, it becomes clear that he has a thirst for fame and fortune, if not facts. His knack for fabricating sensational tales leads to a series of articles that soon establish him as a celebrated hack.
High on his new status, Benjamin is desperate to repeat his 'hold-the-front-page' success, even if that means killing for the lead story... "Of course, we are a satire... with a killer storyline" Craig muses "I must say though that I believe strongly in our media and freedom of the press, but that's not to say that it's always right or coming from a genuine place. It seemed in the 80s the big stories were less about the important issues, like the AIDS crisis, and more about serial killers, shocking music videos or dead celebs.
"The news went commercial in a way; shocking attention grabbing headlines to keep sales up" he adds "That's the themes we play with. It's a cynical cold mean-spirited look at a decade that seemed to want Americans to succeed no matter what, but we do it with a sense of humour."
Fake News is a brand new satirical thriller set against a beautifully vulgar backdrop of neon and greed. It's a funny and tragic examination of how the fascination with the most illicit stories can distract the population from the most important news.
The play bounces with suitably glitzy 80s soundtrack that perfectly aligns with the action... "I love the 80s, it was such a crazy decade and really the last decade of innocence before the internet etc" Craig says "It's strange, though, whilst we all remember the music, fashion, movies etc it was also very dark."
Fake News promises a fun night out, and also makes a humorous point about the vacuous nature of celebrity culture. Summing the play up, Craig succinctly states that it is a, "a neon nightmare serial killer story that plays out in the media, funny, shocking and thought provoking..."
Wednesday 18th April Ė Saturday 28th
Tickets on sale now £12/£14 - for more details and to book - click here
Please note this production is not suitable for persons under 16
Contains strobe, laser lighting and smoke effects
Words by Ian Leslie