Blurred Lines - reviews Nick Payne's new 'feminist' play

Payne's response to Robin Thicke is a witty exploration of sexism but why is a man speaking for women?

Blurred Lines
(Image credit: © 2013)

What you need to know

Nick Payne's new play about sexism Blurred Lines has opened at The Shed, National Theatre to mixed reviews, as some critics question why a man is speaking for women on feminist issues.

Young British playwright Payne, best known for his hit Constellations, has taken the title of his new work from the controversial number one single by Robin Thicke.

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Co-created with director Carrie Cracknell, it features an all-female cast exploring ideas of gender inequality through eight vignettes and songs about contemporary popular culture where anti-feminist messages are rife and pornography is ever-present. Runs until 22 February.

What the critics like

"The writing is witty, the direction elegant, the performances sharply observed, the issues raised of pressing importance, and the play as a whole has great charm," says Jane Shilling in the Daily Telegraph. If Payne and Cracknell wanted this piece to begin a necessary conversation, they've got a success on their hands.

"You can't accuse Nick Payne of being fainthearted" in tackling a play that explores what it means to be a woman, says Aleks Siertz on ArtsDesk. The good news is that it's an experimental work, based on a good idea that also features a wonderful all-woman cast.

Rest assured "this impressionistic 70-minute piece has many moments of pure glee" along with some deeply touching passages, says Libby Purves on Theatre Cat. With eight brave, clever, funny women bringing their own indignations and hilarities to the process, it's another little jewel in the Shed.

What they don't like

It's fun, flashy and funny, but ultimately, Blurred Lines is rather depressing, says Siertz on ArtsDesk. "Not because it delivers the truth of discrimination against women, but because once again here is a man speaking on behalf of women."

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