Wednesday, February 24, 2021

DIGITAL SHARING 4 (KickItDown Productions)****


By Aashiq


Available until: Unknown

So this is the fourth episode in the Digital Sharing series by KickItDown Productions. In every show, three writers share a short piece, which is either filmed or presented as a voice-over audio drama with text. If you want to read about the first three episodes, you must restrain your curiosity till the end of this review. Very occasionally, I say something interesting and you don’t want to miss that.

The first play in the series is Twitcher, written by Megan Smith, and she describes a very familiar situation perfectly and arouses an incredible mix of emotions in her listener. It’s about a girl with a really hot neighbour and apart from the fact I’m not a girl, I HAVE BEEN THERE. I actually don’t have a hot neighbour at the moment, which is just as well with the whole marriage thing I’ve got going on, but there’s that thing where you accidentally find out when he’s getting home and you always somehow just happen to be by the window when he gets home? What a coincidence! (Except that the character in the play is a bit more honest than me about the whole coincidence thing.)

One day, the gorgeous hot stud comes home as usual and the girl is by her window yet again. We get six minutes of her life, the waiting, the anticipation, and then the moment when he’s finally there. And can I just say I love the stuff about the keys? That is just so ME. It’s the kind of small thing that could be really irritating, but when you’re in love, something like that can be just the cutest thing ever. (Which is just as well from my point of view.)

There are a lot of ways this monologue could be read. If it was me, I’d probably be panting by the time the guy arrives. But director Nessa Wrafter has gone in a more matter of fact direction. This girl could just be chatting to you at work (for those of you who can remember what being at work feels like) or by the bus stop (in the days when we could get close enough to be heard and wearing a mask was actually scarier than not wearing one). She sounds like a normal, down to earth girl with a bit of a crush.

I’m going to hold my hands up (very elegantly) and say I wasn’t sure about this decision at first, but it’s a masterstroke and actor Ruth Syratt’s air of normality is perfect. You know how sometimes, someone starts talking (usually me) and you just know they’re about to tell you a boring story? Ruth has just the slightest edge of that in her voice. Not enough to make her listeners bored, but enough to make you think this story might not have lots of drama.

Listen to the play and then you’ll find out if it has drama or not.

Guy/Man/Guy is another audio drama and it’s about a man with a plan. Or a guy who’s not so spry. He’s one of many people who decided to use lockdown as a time to get fit. Which is just the kind of illogical thing a human being would do. Wait till the gyms are closed and then decide you want to exercise? It’s so illogical I’m amazed I didn’t do it.

Some people like to avoid stories with calorie-counting and weight, but there’s nothing like that. There are hardly any numbers at all and that’s just numbers of push-ups. It’s not an eating disorder story. It’s just a story about a sweet guy who wants to better himself.

Lots of people make comments about how a woman can’t convincingly write a man’s voice so to anyone thinks that, go and listen to Sophia Chetin-Leuner’s script. She sounds more like a man than I do, which is just creepy, but brilliant writers can do things like that. She’s got the male competitive nature down, but instead of making him seem like a total twit with an a, she makes him seem really sweet. He’s so earnest about it. So determined.

If you want to know what happens next (and yes, you DO want to know what happens next), you’ll have to listen to the play. But there’s a great twist at the end which is so… no, I’m not saying another word. You’ll have to listen and find out.

3800 Miles is about some fancy app thing which actually seems to exist called Fast Friends. Sanjay and Elle get five minutes to talk. About anything. It’s not so easy when one of you is a geek and the other one really doesn’t seem impressed.

Ben Lawrence has written a brilliant awkward conversation. Awkward enough to feel awkward for them. Not awkward enough to wish I hadn’t insisted on reviewing it. There are a lot of differences between the characters but director Mina Barber has emphasised this still further. Sanjay is all bright-eyed and eager, it’s ADORABLE. Elle looks like she was having a nap, that’s how into it she is. Like when you sign up for something and it looks like the best thing since my husband stepped out of the shower, but the enthusiasm soon fades (which doesn’t happen when my husband steps out of the shower) and you wonder why you bothered and by the time someone actually starts talking to you, it’s just a chore? And you really get enough of chores in lockdown because you run out of excuses not to do them?

Perdita Ogbourne is literally laid back and sophisticated as Elle. Shivi Hotwani plays Sanjay and I’m not going to make a pun with his name because not everyone likes that as much as I do. But his name suits him. He’s so sweet and enthusiastic and if he tries a bit too hard sometimes, maybe that’s just skill.


There is a theme for this collection of stories, but I’m not saying what it is because it would give too much away and I always like being annoying when it’s intentional.

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