Public Domain – The Vaudeville Theatre
Tweetingit: 3* The toxic reality of social media laid bare in this innovative new piece from two highly talented performers.
Our reliance on social media during the pandemic was undeniably complete. It provided a vital lifeline and maintained a semblance of human industry allowing many to work from home. However, it must be wondered if real communication has been usurped by a range of annoyingly convenient devices that do everything except keep us real.
So Public Domain is a timely study of how social media became an animal we feed but can no longer control. Following its well-received digital debut at the Southwark Playhouse, it now features in a limited four date run at the Vaudeville Theatre in the Strand.
As a verbatim musical it draws heavily on the indelible universe of the internet. There is a disturbing air of familiarity, as Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke portray characters and moods that increasingly dominate our lives. Twitter, Facebook and Instagram are thoroughly analysed and exposed, resplendent with their obvious shortcomings. Forristal and Clarke occupy boxes on either side of the stage and engage through words and gestures; but never really talk.
Clarke plays the desperate and lonely geek trapped in a virtual prison; while Forristal is the excitable YouTuber seeking fame as an influencer. Obsessed with social affirmation they seem the very definition of click bait, wanting to be noticed and aching to be accepted. Mark Zuckerberg is rightly shown no mercy and lampooned to maximum effect. The dark arts of TiK ToK get a good airing and dangers of social media become abundantly clear.
Public Domain plainly illustrates how our lives have turned into a fish bowl. For all its humour and bonhomie the show delivers a message that is loud and clear. We trade our privacy for instant gratification as popularity is measured by the number of friends we have on Facebook. The thumb generation have grown up with social media and will never know what real communication is. The songs are pleasant but lack anything approaching a showstopper. This is essentially a fringe production let loose at a West End venue; on a bigger stage it becomes obvious the show is a work-in-progress. But it remains a bright and innovative show with great potential.
Written and Performed by: Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke
Director/Producer: Adam Lenson
Booking Until: 30 May 2021