Available until: Friday 31st December
Chronic Insanity have not only embraced the concept of digital theatre, they have redefined it. In order to watch 24, 23, 22, you really need two devices – a laptop and a phone are recommended, though they can produce a version with two videos playing in unison, side by side, for anyone who has only one device.
If you have two devices, you have one video playing on each device. The videos must be switched on simultaneously. One video shows the male actor and the other shows the female actor. They are both having a bad day of epic proportions due to one thing and another and although they don’t know it yet, they are set to meet and it’s going to be quite eventful for them. First, one actor says the narrative while the other screen shows a freeze-frame image. When they’ve finished, the other video bursts instantly into life, picking up their cue as though they’ve heard it.
They might not have heard it. Not only are the videos filmed separately, they have also been filmed twice, with two different actors filming each role. When it’s time for the show, the first thing you do is choose which actor you want to play each role. There are two different styles too. While Ruth Page and Joe Matty speak their lines into the camera with their mouths moving in unison with their voices, Helena Rimmer and Joe Strickland speak their lines in voice over while the video shows them reacting emotionally to the situation.
As a massive fan of The Show Must Go Online, I obviously had to choose Ruth Page (whose various roles include Henry V, along with controlling the TSMGO social media and the Patreon page) for the female role of Fran. As I was interested in the two different styles, this meant I chose Joe Strickland to play Brendon. No disrespect at all intended to Helena Rimmer and Joe Matty and I’m looking forward to watching them in the future.
Douglas Deans has written the story in a very interesting way. I’m not going to say exactly what it is, though you can find out from the booking page if you don’t want to be surprised, but it works brilliantly. Both the narratives are compelling and really interesting and although the characters only spend a short time communicating with each other, it’s certainly… eventful. Joe Strickland directs as well as starring and the videos have a really intense feel. The drama isn’t allowed to drop for one moment and we’re dragged along by it relentlessly… and we enjoy the ride. (A lot more than Ruth enjoys her bus ride to work. It’s disgusting the way some people behave.)
Ruth Page is an intelligent and feisty Fran. She’s sharp and witty and although she doesn’t remember it, she was probably great company on her night out. Although she is able to keep up an amusing running commentary, Ruth shows Fran moving slowly but surely towards breaking point as one problem piles on top of another. Joe Strickland is harder to fathom at first, partly because of the way his story is told, but his fear and desperation is brought out strongly and although you might not quite know what to make of this man, you really want to.
A really great idea for a play which is full of innovative ideas – and Chronic Insanity have lots more in store.