Verbatim Theatre and structured ‘reality television’ are rarely compared. But should they be? Constructed from the ‘real’, and relying on our faith that what we are watching is authentic, how do these forms differ? Why do we seem to bring a different critical judgement to them? Are they distinct only in their intent? If they are similar in their claims to present ‘real’ people/dialogue in ‘real’ situations, how do their differing categories as Verbatim Theatre and Structured Reality Television work in terms of how we read meaning as we watch? Is one form superior to the other? If so, on what do we base that judgement? Is it simply on the seriousness of intent? If so, who gets to decide what is serious? This essay will look specifically at the highly successful London Road, which has had critical acclaim first at the Royal National Theatre in London and then as a film.
Soto-Morettini, D. (2022). The Real Housewives of Ipswich: London Road, and the Relationship between Verbatim Theatre and Structured Reality Television. In S. Homan (Ed.), Playing with Reality: Denying, Manipulating, Converting, and Enhancing What Is There (73-80). Oxford: Routledge. https://doi.org/10.4324/9781003256601-10