Beep

Beginning in a frightening dystopia with five people wearing surgical masks manhandling one other as the audience enters, then as the show starts transforming to a happy young party student crowd is a little unsettling. The atmosphere that this creates however quickly dissipates but leaves you on alert throughout the show, an alert state that is not actually needed as the rest of the play, even the ending, does not match this tension.

A neat illustration of how a lie is at first kept to protect everyone but ends up hurting everyone involved.

This is a youthful production and an interesting concept. What if men had a legally required microchip implanted in their arms which beeped every time they told an untruth? This is set in current time where the government has passed this law due to 80 percent of men in parliament being caught in deceptions. The two young women in the group mostly embrace this new rule which stops the men in their lives, including their boyfriends, from telling lies. However, the young men and soon the young women ponder the issues this brings. What about telling your mother that you love her roast dinners in order to be nice, when you hate them? What about telling your girlfriend that actually yes, her bum does look big in that?

There is also a secret of infidelity between at first two of them, which is then told to another, and then another, until five out of the group know, except for the best friend / boyfriend from whom this is hidden. A neat illustration of how a lie is at first kept to protect everyone, including those committing infidelity, but ends up hurting everyone involved. Perhaps pointing out an obvious morality tale but actually this is deftly told and well portrayed by all the actors involved. The boyfriend was visibly shaking with emotion.

This is a well directed piece and all the actors involved portray their characters well and are believable. The odd friend in the bunch: Eddie, played by Charles Barnett, steals it with some belly laugh moments. There is some interesting choreography between the scenes but it’s a shame this couldn’t have been staged slightly differently as the very small space was packed and without raised seating or staging area, only the front two rows could really see anything that the characters were doing below waist height, and nothing much if they sat down.

The plot is very interesting and shows the relationships between six university age people well. The cracks in the relationship between Rose and Matt are evident: she tests that the beeping lie detector works by showing him a dress but gets more than she bargains for, showing her boyfriend as being at best controlling and at worst misogynistic, noticed by the audible intakes of breath and other audience reactions. The ending, however, although shocking, wasn’t believable with the characters that had been created, a point hard to explain without giving a spoiler. It was this plot point that perhaps needs further examination, as this has the potential to be more than it currently is.

Reviews by Susanne Crosby

The Place Theatre, Bradgate Road

Every Time A Bell Rings

★★★
New Venture Theatre

Talk

★★★★
Brighton Open Air Theatre

The Amazing Adventures of Little Red

★★★★
Rialto Theatre

Quentin Crisp: Naked Hope

★★★★★
Rialto Theatre

Numbers

★★★★★
MEET: Brighton Spiegeltent

This Noisy Isle

★★★★

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The Blurb

Six best friends. One devastating secret between the cracks. How do they keep it from surfacing in a world where men can't lie?

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