Writer: Chris Bush
Composer: Matt Winkworth
Director: James Grieve
Reviewer: Matt Yeoman
Uncomfortable, unforgiving, unapologetic. Anyone who goes to see this critique of our modern, digital society and who is expecting to sit back, relax and enjoy an exciting journey through a fluffy and heart-warming performance will very be disappointed. The production challenges and at times, is incredibly uncomfortable in its presentation of a society that is overstimulated by social media.
The performance is far more than just the assassination of Katie Hopkins. It is a critique on how we the mass public respond to and are influenced by social media. It holds a mirror up to the audience and challenges them to consider how they fit into the perception the writer presents. The Script itself is absolutely fantastic and the choral work, overlapping, cross-cutting features of presentation and the epic theatre style the play adopts distances the audience from getting too comfortable with the performance.
Chris Bush has written a wonderful story with two narratives that expose the fickleness of society. The first narrative follows the assassination of Katie Hopkins the immediate response and the aftermath of what this means for free speech. Contrasting this is a more sincere story that is desperate to be heard but at every turn, quashed by the fascination of the masses with the figure and ideology of what Katie Hopkins is.
This production is an incredible example of how the different mediums within the theatre can come together to create an incredibly stimulating environment in which enables the actors to tell their story on a variety of different levels. Lucy Osborne and her team of designers have turned a black box space into a world of video sound and media stimulation that draws the audience in yet distances them through the distractions of the sounds and lights it presents. It is initially simple but exceptionally complex in its design. David White’s orchestration and Matt Winkworth’s score is contemporary and mirrors the sounds that associate with the world of social media. The texture of the score mirrors the texture of the set – it is incredibly complex, yet incredibly effective.
There are some really strong performances from the cast including Maimuna Memon who’s voice is both powerful yet exerts an air of reflection demanded by her role. There are some wonderfully comical moments in the production which lighten the mood, including a stand-up drag performance by Ché Francis and some moments if excellent comic timing demonstrated by Matthew Woodyatt and Amy Booth-Steel. As a last minute stand-in, Kirby Hughes did exceptionally well.
This is a truly contemporary production. James Grieve’s direction never allows the production to take its finger off the pulse, and it’s minimalistic and Brechtian style truly allows for the audience to both connect yet distance themselves from the action encouraging reflection beyond the theatre itself.
This is an exceptional piece of work and one that everyone must see if they can bear to reflect on the issues we have in modern society around freedom of speech equality, tolerance and acceptance.
Runs until 12th May 2018 | Image: Contributed