Review: Angry Reacts Only
Lots of German electro references – but does the craft work? 3.5/5
Angry Reacts Only is a brand new piece of theatre by writer and director Joy Hunter, aided by the technical wizardry of Zebulon Goriely.
A brother and sister duo are staying at their Gran's house – attempts at an analogue detox futile as their digital lives start "bleeding through the walls." They watch locust documentaries, ignore their Gran's Shakespeare renditions and hatch all sorts of plans to escape the silicon clutches of Big Data.
At some points it feels quite Epic Theatre – ethical dilemmas, data-harvesting powerpoint presentations and visual metaphors about locusts are thrown directly at the audience before the play moves on to its next Very Big Idea. The play's fast pacing and myriad sub-plots feels like desperately dashing through your browser tabs to find the one that's playing an advert out loud (as a helpful tip it is generally The Independent xoxo) and then slamming your laptop screen down instead of actually solving the problem. There is a very funny section where a video of a plague of locusts loops for two minutes in complete silence.
One of the ways that the show stands out is the use of tech. That central division the show plays on—the ever shrinking line between the world of social media and reality—is brilliantly reinforced through flickering lighting, industrial sound effects and video projections, excellently edited by Goriely. It's as if the walls of the Corpus Playroom are being transcribed as lines of code, uploaded to the internet and are now closing in.
Standout of the cast is Jasmine Thien as Gran, who performs Shakespearean monologues with a level of glee only reachable by someone who has never been on Twitter. All performances feel funny, warm and real but—come on, lads—learn your goddamn lines!(!!!)
In the end the war on Facebook seems to fizzle out. Maybe, Hunter seems to be suggesting, there is simply nothing we can do. The internet makes everything worse and we can't win. All that we have left is human connection.
A play that makes us wonder how one little bug becomes an endless plague. 3.5/5