HAM & HIGH

(Hampstead & Highgate Express)

 

 London 22 April 2005

 

Truly fascinating cock fight

 

PHALLACY

 

New End, Hampstead

 

By ALINE WAITES

 

 

What is the true value ofart? In Carl Djerassi’s play, Viennese art historian ReginaLeitner-Opfermann says “art is never necessary, simplyindispensable.” She is giving an illuminated lecture on the bronze statueof a young boy—presumably from second century Rome. She is asked by amember of the audience whether the trace metals in its composition are proof ofits antiquity. She snubs the questioner; she considers all science a bore.Beauty is more important than truth, she believes, but then she is in love,obsessed with the statue.

 

RexStolzfuss, a scientist, suspects the statue is most probably a Renaissance copy.He cares more about truth than beauty.

 

Reginacalls Rex cocksure. Rex finds this a joke because none of her lectures,although they dwell intimately on the body of the sculpture, ever get round toa description of the penis. This is obviously the reason for the doubleentendre title of the play, but if it has any relevance to the plot, it hasescaped me.

 

Eachcombatant has a young sidekick. These two are secretly having an affair andtheir conversations help to keep the plot rolling as more revelations emerge.But the true fascination of this piece is the battle that rages on between Rexand Regina—played with gusto by Karen Archer and Jack Klaff.

 

Until May 14