Socialist Worker

Clarion - a call against the gutter press

by John Baker
Issue No. 2452

Clarion, starring Greg Hicks and Clare Higgins, plays at the Arcola Theatre

Clarion, starring Greg Hicks and Clare Higgins, plays at the Arcola Theatre

If you hate the British tabloids, then you’ll love writer Mark Jagasia’s new play Clarion.

It’s a hilarious and vitriolic exposure of their poisonous diet of racism, xenophobia and nationalism. And its warning that scapegoating has consequences is all too relevant in this period of imperialist war and the rise of Ukip.

Jagasia, with years of experience at national dailies, brings a pen dipped in acid with concise language and sharp humour. It all makes a scathing satire set in the offices of the worst paper in the land.

The Clarion’s owner, a man resident in Monaco, made his money in pornography. Now who might that refer to?

He favours a constant flow of toxic immigration scare stories. 

The head office suit, a sanctimonious hypocrite, enforces the owner’s every whim with the threat of redundancy.

The editor, a paranoid and reactionary Little Englander, bullies his staff. The contemporary world of work meets the gutter politics of the red tops.

Supported by excellent ensemble acting, Greg Hicks gives an excellent performance as the editor. 

And Clare Higgins is magisterial as the fading star reporter, who clings onto shreds of integrity.

I’ve never witnessed an audience laugh out loud so unreservedly or applaud a cast, who clearly enjoyed their roles, so enthusiastically.  

Don’t miss this five star treat, served up in a renowned, community-based political theatre.

Clarion, Written by Mark Jagasia. Arcola Theatre, London E8 3DL. £19/£15, arcolatheatre.comUntil 16 May


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Article information

Tue 5 May 2015, 15:55 BST
Issue No. 2452
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