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Review: Stripped at the King’s Head Theatre

A sharp and witty exposé of ‘woke metropolitan man’

05 September, 2019 — By Calum Fraser

Antonia Kinlay and Charles Reston in Stripped

Stripped is a sharp and witty play that hits you with a flurry of talking points. Young and eager-to-impress Ollie (Charles Reston) has come to pose naked for stony-faced artist Lola (Antonia Kinlay). This set-up is low-hanging fruit for easy laughs, which the script easily hoovers up.

But the light-hearted opening prepares the ground for the darker scenes later in the play as it becomes apparent that Ollie and Lola have history. Without spoiling the plot entirely, it is safe to say this two-hander tackles some of the issues thrown up by the #MeToo movement.

After the scandal broke around movie mogul Harvey Weinstein, hundreds of thousands of women talked about their experiences of sexual harassment and assault under the #MeToo social media banner.

Stripped explores the messy nature of any post-mortem into an assault. The artist’s studio becomes a private sphere courtroom as we piece together the truth.

Kinlay gives the guarded and fierce Lola a sense of empowerment, while Reston skilfully captures the essence of a “self-proclaimed beta male” – hiding behind false claims of humility while constantly trying to puff up his ego.

The play strips modern masculinity back to reveal that the “woke metropolitan man” is no different from his predecessors.

The stage is simple while director Max Elton’s light touch allows the power of the script to be brought forward.

This one-hour play is an excellent piece of fringe theatre and it wouldn’t be surprising to see Stripped come back again in a longer form on the West End.

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