Ever wondered, or perhaps dreaded, what it would be like if your search history could talk? With a host of zany characters and one wonderfully surreal party,
As more profiles join the party and virtual egos begin to clash, the reality of just how many platforms we are connected to – or tied to – begins to really sink in
What begins as a misguided night out and an unfortunate kiss is the catalyst for an argument between millennial David (Tom Hartwell) and long-term girlfriend Charlotte (Megan King). Their relationship has been established as pretty rocky by David’s commitment to his laptop over Charlotte’s own presence in his bedroom, and things have now reached breaking point. So far, so relatable. What is slightly more unpredictable, however, is the arrival of Facebook himself (Evan Rees) to convince David to remain on the network and not ‘unplug’, as he has promised Charlotte. As more profiles join the party and virtual egos begin to clash, the reality of just how many platforms we are connected to – or tied to – begins to really sink in.
This is a strong concept that becomes more and more enjoyable as the show goes on. Rees’ interpretation of the biggest social network of all is sassy, witty and shallow – much as you would expect from a website that renews its News Feed every couple of seconds. Youtube (Matthew Gilman) is an action hungry jock, Melanie Banks an over-zealous Tinder-zilla and Instagram (Elizabeth Stretton) a perky vision in pink.
An unexpected but welcome appearance from Farmville (Katie Dalzell) was a highlight, as was Snapchat’s (Isabel Patterson’s) panic at being exposed for more than ten seconds at a time. Stealing the show for me, however, was Keith Ramsay’s portrayal of the aged Hotmail, a bitter cynic with a chip on his shoulder, who is presented with the air of a second-hand car salesman trying to convince himself that the next deal will be the big one.
I can’t have been the only one who, on the use of the iPhone notification sound effect, reached for their pocket instinctively. The use of a WhatsApp notification ‘ding’ as David’s doorbell, and the unlocking ‘swipe’ to open the door, served to further blur the boundaries between the real and the virtual. Occasionally, this blurring hindered the execution of the fairly straightforward plot: multi-roling performers such as Stretton - who played both David’s Instagram account and the real-life third wheel in his relationship - faces the challenge of maintaining both personas simultaneously onstage, which seriously risks losing the audience’s engagement with the metaphor.
There’s an unshakeable irony in the fact that, before writing this review, I sat down to check my Facebook and Twitter for at least the third time this morning. If this is something you can relate to, this is a piece of theatre that you need to see.