Theatre Review – You Tweet My Face Space

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You Tweet My Face Space
Writer/Producer: Tom Hartwell
Director: Anne Stoffels 
The Bedford, Balham (Theatre N16)

5_Star_Rating_System_4_stars

Reviewer: Laura Shoebottom

Facebook, Twitter, Instagram, meet David. He’s addicted to Facebook and his girlfriend Charlotte has had enough. After a photo of David and another girl at a party winds up on his profile page thanks to his flatmate she swipes left and walks out. It is then up to Facebook (Evan Rees) and his gang to convince David to keep his profile after he threatens to delete it. 

The stage is very simply set, with blocks centre stage where we see David (Tom Hartwell) and his girlfriend Charlotte (Megan King) pre-set. The rest of the actors representing each social media site are dotted in situ around the space – some sat in the audience, some ushering the audience in and others hooked into the curtain “network” via wires peeking out from the curtains. Sounds, flashbacks and handmade Instagram albums are used throughout the show as we follow David’s attempts to win back Charlotte and delete his social media profiles.

First we see Facebook showering David with a thousand reasons why Facebook is the be all and end all of social media, even reverting to a physical poke to mimic the social one. Like the prospect of Facebook he is very enticing and makes it hard for David to say no by listing all the benefits that it has. The language isn’t literal but the playwright has managed to weave all the social lingo into the script without it being demonstrative.

The storyline is fairly linear but contains flashbacks and selfie-tableaus. The physical content is stylised – most of the fight sequences are slow motion and the actors are spread well round the space with David in the middle or on the outside to show separation.

Snapchat’s energy is fantastic. Isabel Patterson’s work is very detailed and true to the ten-second rule on Snapchat videos with short sharp bursts of energy but constant movement. When it is revealed that Facebook has bought Snapchat and is controlling her by making her stand still in an attempt at blackmail, the tension in her body and the struggle in her voice are very hard to watch. The vocal energy of the cast is well sustained: there is a subtle difference in each characters voice and each social media has a different energy, pace and intonation which provides an intense and frantic energy that is beautiful to watch.

The play is easy to follow without being naturalistic, it’s not often you get a social media fight being filmed by Youtube. As a piece of non-naturalism is it very clever because the characters seem human and almost relatable but there is that degree of separation where the audience knows that this couldn’t possibly happen and yet they are affected by it, whether they find it funny, scary or emotional.

You Tweet My Face Space is nothing short of stunning. A fantastically clever concept with honest dialogue and a lot of clichés which are used absolutely to Facebook’s advantage with hilarious results.