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Thursday, 07 May 2015
Old Boy Mark Jagasia’s debut stage-play Clarion opened in April at the Arcola Theatre in London to a wash of four- and five-star reviews. This brilliant satire about the newspaper industry, which also comments on free speech and nationalism, has been well-received by critics and audiences alike.
Mark is well-placed to write about the state of British media. After attending Bolton School Boys’ Division from 1981 to 1990, he began a career in journalism which eventually led to him joining the Daily Express as the showbusiness editor. He has also worked for several other UK newspapers, including the Evening Standard and the Guardian. Armed with his past experiences in the industry, he set about writing Clarion, which is named after and set in the fictional offices of “Britain’s worst newspaper”.
Greg Hicks plays the power-crazed editor while Clare Higgins is the paper’s washed-up foreign correspondent; as political storm-clouds gather and pressure mounts, circumstances threaten to expose the worst crimes of The Daily Clarion before the final curtain. The two stars brought Mark’s text to life in performances which, according to the review in The Times, “toggle sharply between the grotesquely nightmarish and the naturalistic”. The play itself shines a bright light on the dark heart of the newspaper industry and upon society itself in what LondonTheatre1 described as an “utterly scathing but hysterical take on the worst excesses of tabloid journalism”.
The play has been nominated for a total of three Off West End Theatre Awards. It is in the running for Best Play, Best Actor and Best Actress. This is a great achievement, particularly as this is Mark's first script!
Clarion’s run at the Arcola Theatre ends on the 16th of May.
A selection of Clarion's reviews:
★★★★★ “Mark Jagasia’s darkly comic new play is a topically urgent interrogation of British press standards. Hugely recommended.” - Morning Star
★★★★★ “A headline-grabbing comedy that’s one of the funniest in years.” - Stage Review
★★★★★ “An insightful and side splitting evening of entertainment, this is a must see” - West End Wilma
★★★★★ “Mark Jagasia’s script is outstanding ... Engaging, stylish and irreverent” - Ginger Hibiscus
★★★★★ “An utterly scathing but hysterical take on the worst excesses of tabloid journalism” - LondonTheatre1
★★★★ “Greg Hicks is hilarious as a demonic newspaper editor in Mark Jagasia’s scorching satire” - Michael Billington, The Guardian
★★★★ “An eye-wateringly funny — and foreboding — vision of British print journalism going to hell in a handcart ... Higgins's performance is pitch-perfect ... Hicks is on storming form and having a ball ... Highly recommended.” - The Times
★★★★ “Captures the distinctive journalistic flavour of bile, hysteria and sentimentality with savage precision ... Hicks plays Morris with maniacal brilliance ... appallingly funny” - Daily Telegraph
★★★★ “An electrically funny and knowing script about an industry in decline and an ideology on the rise” - The Independent
★★★★ “Absorbing and devilishly funny” - Evening Standard
★★★★ “The scathingly funny, grim satire of tabloid ethics drives to the heart of a serious issue” - Financial Times
★★★★ “This piercing and often funny play does to newspapers what Drop The Dead Donkey did to TV news” - Daily Mail
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