British Director Takes Pick-Axe and Wrecks Theatre After Bad Reviews

News   British Director Takes Pick-Axe and Wrecks Theatre After Bad Reviews
It's not just the audiences whose bad behaviour, recently highlighted by Patti LuPone, needs fixing.

According to reports from Manchester, the Turner Prize winning artist Douglas Gordon has taken revenge against the poor reviews for Neck of the Woods that he's currently directed as part of the Manchester International Festival by taking a pick-axe, used as a prop in the play, to the walls of the brand-new £25m theatre where it is being staged, and then added graffiti to the damaged wall by dating and signing it.

Douglas Gordon
Douglas Gordon

The play, which stars Charlotte Rampling, is based on the children's fable "Little Red Riding Hood." The 48-year-old Gordon won the Turner prize in 1986 for his video piece "Confessions of a Justified Sinner."

According to press materials, the show is a startling collision of visual art, music and theatre, whose visual world is created by Gordon while pianist Hélène Grimaud curates and performs a series of works for piano. Together with New York-based novelist and playwright Veronica Gonzalez Peña, they have woven together stories, music, motifs, phrases and fragments to build what's described as "a lyrical and beguiling work."

The reviews, however, have not agreed. In The Guardian, Lyn Gardner wrote, "Rampling makes the best of a script that entertains the murderous badness of men, but which has none of the subversive energy of author Angela Carter’s retellings that celebrate the ingenuity of women who refuse to be simply victims. All style and no fangs: no wonder I felt like howling."

Gordon's extreme reaction, however, has provoked a severe reprimand from Alex Poots, artistic director of the Manchester International Festival, who has stated, "We understand that one of our artists acted in a wholly inappropriate way after the opening of Neck of the Woods, causing slight damage to the fabric of Home’s new building. This is totally unacceptable and the artist involved will be paying for repairs. MIF and the artist have contacted staff who were present and our co-commissioning partners at Home to apologise. MIF is an artist-led festival. We support artists to make ambitious new work. We do not support or condone reckless, inappropriate or intimidating behaviour and will work with our co-commissioning partners and artistic and producing teams to ensure that this doesn’t happen again". For further details on the show and to book for remaining performances through July 18, visit

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