Buffer

Tormented by his dependency on and loathing of social media, Craig has switched off from the world. In the company of a one-night stand who just won't take the hint to leave, he is desperately trying to find the space to think.

Its message, particularly about the loneliness caused by the disintegration of traditional society and the treatment of homosexuality, is strong and should be shared.

Although the subject matter might not be novel, this portrayal of the topic is edgier and has more bite than others I've seen. Craig and Spencer, his Grindr hook-up, are written so that we simultaneously despise and empathise with both of them and our favour swings between the two of them throughout the piece. The dialogue is very well written: zippy and realistic. It is delivered with passion and commitment, even if the characterisation is sometimes exaggerated into stereotypes. The piece abstractly draws on a range of different technological media and influences, making the virtual into reality. Set against a stylised backdrop of fairy lights and torn photographs, an almost continuous soundscape of ringtones and message alerts creates an effect that engulfs us in this cyber world. It sometimes feels like the narrative takes a back seat to the recreation of the social media world and the plot doesn't quite become apparent quickly enough to grasp our attention immediately.

Cleverly fitting with the theme of alienation and discomfort experienced by the characters, the performance space is deliberately unnerving for the audience; the playing area is enlarged out from the stage and the audience have no choice but to be involved in this immersive theatre. It adds the desired effect without becoming invasive and getting in the way of our enjoyment. What appears to be a comment on social media and the loss of human interaction cleverly begins to incorporate ideas about society's attitude towards sexuality, which provide the piece's most tender moments.

This is a colourful piece of theatre with beautiful moments of poignancy shining out of the grit. Its message, particularly about the loneliness caused by the disintegration of traditional society and the treatment of homosexuality, is strong and should be shared.

Reviews by Cara Ballingall

C venues - C nova

Inglorious Insinuations of Insanity

★★
theSpace @ Surgeons Hall

Free for All

★★★
Greenside @ Infirmary Street

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★★
C venues - C nova

Two Thirds

★★★
Underbelly, Cowgate

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★★★

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

We type, we mail, we text, we Skype, we friend, but in a world that is more connected than ever, what happens when we strip away technology and remove the buffer between ourselves and reality? Join three 20-something examples of the first generation to grow up texting and Facebook-ing their way through life and for whom face-to-face communications, and even talking on the phone, have fast become relics of a bygone era. A new play by Traverse 50 writer, Alan Gordon ***** (EdinburghGuide.com, Teach Me, 2012).

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