Five Encounters on a Site Called Craigslist

After an hour of a narcissistic one man show, we were left with the dilemma of whether to applaud the honesty of Sam, or be totally appalled by the stark exposure of his personality. It was difficult to distinguish whether the sleazy persona which greeted you on arrival and thanked you upon leaving was an act, or whether it was the real Sam throughout the show as he narrated five sexual encounters he had experienced on a site called Craigslist.

He may have brought the audience together, but it was only due to the shock at his distasteful portrayal of personal experiences.

The performance largely depended upon audience participation. While partakers were enthusiastic and seemed open to anything, the interaction seemed unnecessary; a bizarre miscellany of balloon popping, voice recording and carrot peeling distracted from Sam’s stories, rather than enhancing them with immersive sound effects. Sam challenged his assistants and his audience to answer many of the 36 questions which are designed to form the basis of a deep, meaningful relationship between two people, based on a study. His attempts were bold, but the pushy delivery designed to ensure comfortability had mixed results.

Aside from Sam’s offbeat transfer of information, the show as a whole lacked cohesion, linked only by the countdown of the five encounters. There seemed to be no correlation between the props and his stories, besides the fact they added to the absurdity. His candid, often crude, discussion of sexual acts was interspersed with Sam seeking reassurance from the audience that they were alright and that they didn’t have any questions – though there were probably many unspoken queries. Casual nudity was unnecessary even to the avid theatre-goer, and it was more a display of egotism than a portrayal of courage in its rawest form.

The point may well have been to see how close a room full of strangers could get over the course of an hour in a ‘safe space’. Though the experimentation had the potential to be interesting and produce surprising results, there was no conclusion to the show and the audience were left rather alienated from Sam and his experiences, especially his odd delivery and conversational tone when discussing sex. He may have brought the audience together, but it was only due to the shock at his distasteful portrayal of personal experiences.

Reviews by Yasmin Duggal

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Sam wants to tell you about five encounters he had on Craigslist. This is a chance for you to get to know him. This is a show performed by one person who needs an audience to tell his story. This is a show about one person's self-sabotaged attempts to know those around him, that considers whether a group of people in a darkened room can ever get to know each other. Desperately hilarious and achingly bleak; a tender questioning of our attempts to encounter each other in a technologized world.

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