Shopping and Fucking

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Shopping and Fucking
Written by Mark Ravenhill
Date premiered26 September 1996
Place premiered Royal Court Theatre Upstairs, London
Original language English
Genre In-yer-face theatre

Shopping and Fucking (sometimes billed as Shopping and F**king) is a 1996 play by English playwright Mark Ravenhill. It was Ravenhill's first full-length play. It received its first public reading at the Finborough Theatre, London, in 1995. It was performed in 1996 at the Royal Court Upstairs (located temporarily at the Ambassadors Theatre in London's West End), before embarking on a national and international tour, co-produced by Out of Joint and the Royal Court Theatre.


When first produced, Shopping and Fucking received mixed reviews. Some were shocked by the play's sexually violent content, which includes the pseudo-rape of an underage male by other males. Other critics were drawn to the play's black humour, and its mixture of Sadean and Marxist philosophies. Along with Sarah Kane's Blasted , it was a prime exemplar of British in-yer-face theatre of the 1990s.

Central themes

The sexual violence of Shopping and Fucking explores what is possible if consumerism supersedes all other moral codes. To this effect everything, including sex, violence and drugs, is reduced to a mere transaction in an age where shopping centres are the new cathedrals of Western consumerism.

Aspects of consumerism and sexuality rampant in popular culture recur throughout the play: drugs, shoplifting, phone sex, prostitution, anal sex and oral sex in the London department store Harvey Nichols.

The characters' names (Mark, Robbie and Gary) are taken from the Manchester boy band Take That, and from the singer Lulu who collaborated with them on their hit single Relight My Fire .

Theatrical productions

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  1. "Shopping and Fucking at The Cambridge Arts Theatre". The British Newspaper Archive. 15 January 1998. Retrieved 27 December 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  2. "Shopping and Fucking". New York Theatre Workshop. Retrieved 9 December 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  3. Hischak, Thomas S. (8 February 2001). American Theatre: A Chronicle of Comedy and Drama, 1969-2000. Oxford University Press. p. 416. Retrieved 9 December 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)
  4. Brantley, Ben (3 February 1998). "THEATER REVIEW; A Shocker That Aims To Preach". New York Times. Retrieved 9 December 2018.CS1 maint: discouraged parameter (link)