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Tuesday, 6 August, 2002, 09:18 GMT 10:18 UK
Deep Throat goes live on stage
A scene from Deep Throat: Live on Stage
The play has some nudity but is not for thrill seekers
Simon Garfield's Deep Throat: Live on Stage tells the story of the furore surrounding the hardcore porn movie Deep Throat.

When the writer admits his play is based on an "awful" film the alarm bells should start ringing.

But Simon Garfield's new production is centred around the bizarre goings on surrounding the filming of one of the most notorious porn films to date.

You can't possibly understand how that movie has taken $600m

Simon Garfield, playwright
Deep Throat: Live on Stage, thankfully for many, does not recreate the seedy 1970s flick but rather what happened to its stars Linda Lovelace, also known as Linda Boreman, and Harry Reems.

The story of Lovelace has been batted back into the public arena because of her death in a car crash in April 2002 at the age of 52.

But actor Alex Lowe, who plays porn star Reems, is quick to point out that the play was in production before the death of Lovelace.

"The play was started very much before her death. I would hate to think people thought we were jumping on a bandwagon," says Lowe.


But there is no doubt that Lovelace's death will rekindle interest in Deep Throat.

Linda Boreman aka Linda Lovelace
Lovelace later campaigned against pornography
Deep Throat, made in 1972, was declared obscene by Judge Joel Tyler in New York and was promptly banned.

But the fact it was deemed blue by the authorities just made people want to watch it more.

It went on to become the first pornographic movie to be widely seen in cinemas.

Although writer Garfield, a former journalist, has been fascinated with the movie for many years he fails to understand how it has become so successful.

"It's an awful film. You can't possibly understand how that movie has taken $600m, even if one tries to cast ones mind back to what other films were around in 1972," he says.

"You think perhaps we have too high standards, but this was competing with A Clockwork Orange which is an interesting and exciting film even now."

Garfield tries to explain away the phenomenon with his two-hander play, starring Katherine Parkinson as Lovelace.

Finding God

He believes the fascination with the movie stems from the fact that it was made at a time when people were discussing sexual liberation and freedom of speech while President Nixon was trying to ban everything.

Garfield himself became intrigued by the history of the film after its 20th anniversary.

Although he said the film did not have an impact on him - boring him after just 10 minutes - he read an article about Harry Reems.

Alex Lowe
Alex Lowe has appeared in BBC comedy Fun at the Funeral Parlour

Reems was a huge porn star, who appeared in about 400 films. But he fell on hard times and turned to drink before finding God and becoming a real estate agent.

Garfield went to Utah to interview him for a newspaper and always thought there was more to the story than one article.

Whereas Reems revelled in his film career, Lovelace claimed she was forced by gunpoint into doing the sex scenes by her husband and manager Chuck Traynor.

She later became a vociferous campaigner against the pornographic industry.

But her star faded and she went into obscurity in the 1980s.

"After she died I didn't consider that we wouldn't put the play on. I knew that we had been working on it for months so I didn't feel we were exploiting her," says Garfield.

Deep Throat: Live on Stage is being shown at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh at midnight.


Lowe, who has starred in Fun at the Funeral Parlour and Spaced, is slightly concerned about the sort of clientele it might attract because of the notoriety of the film.

He points out that it contains no explicit sex scenes involved - but that the language is very strong.

"I sincerely hope we don't get men in raincoats coming to see it. But then we don't want people to come and be lectured about anti-porn," he says.

"It is not a knockabout farce, at the end of the day it is a story about a woman who was probably abused, but by the same token it has some laughs."

Garfield agrees the play is a tragi-comedy. "It is for an adult audience. It is explicit not pornographic," he says.

"There is some nudity and some sex but it is not titillating - the men in raincoats will be disappointed."

Deep Throat: Live on Stage is playing at the Assembly Rooms in Edinburgh.

Coverage of the 2002 Edinburgh Festival from BBC News Online

The buzz

In focus

Fringe diarists



See also:

15 Sep 00 | Entertainment
24 Apr 02 | Film
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