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Enquirer


The Hub, Pacific Quay, Glasgow
4 stars
There has probably never been a more relevant week to premiere a 
dramatic dissection of whatever’s left of the newspaper industry, and 
the National Theatre of Scotland’s eloquently realised cut-up of 
interviews with some forty-three main-stage players goes way beyond any 
fears of self-reflexive brow-beating. While it will never top last 
week’s events at the Leveson inquiry when both Rupert and James Murdoch 
were forced to account for both their own actions and the culture of 
newspapers they were in charge of, Enquirer nevertheless paints a 
thought-provoking and oddly poignant portrait of a bruised industry 
being dragged through its own mud.

As the audience enter the tellingly unused top-floor open-plan office 
of a real life media hub, the piles of unsold newspapers used as seats 
as we’re promenaded from desk to desk are even more telling about the 
state we’re in. From morning conference to putting the paper to bed, 
the story, as related by a fantastic cast of six playing composites of 
journalistic archetypes, is one of a high-pressure industry in 
free-fall, whose practitioners, as one subject says, are regarded by 
the public as “second-class citizens”.

Shaped by co-directors Vicky Featherstone and John Tiffany with 
co-editor Andrew O’Hagan from interviews conducted by veteran 
journalists Paul Flynn, Deborah Orr and Ruth Wishart, the 
meta-narrative of such a construction may be plain to see. The 
interviews depicted are vital, however, with John Bett’s study of Times 
editor Roger Alton a hilarious counterpoint to Billy Riddoch as former 
Scottish Sun editor Jack Irvine and Maureen Beattie’s heartbreaking 
study of war reporter Ros Wynne-Jones. This is documentary theatre at 
its devastatingly incisive best. And that’s on the record.

The Herald, April 30th 2012

ends

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