Whatspp? Yes, New Perspective’s haunting new play isn’t on stage or even on Zoom but invites audiences to watch a parents’ whatsapp group unfold as accusations are made and confusion ensures. You can read my interview with Artistic Director and writer Jack McNamara here
Brought together to confirm whether it is PE tomorrow and what uniform they will need the chat takes an odd turn when Florence, mother of Arthur asks about a Mr Mathers. Florence is particularly concerned when Arthur tells her that Mr Mathers mentioned his sister Clara. Arthur doesn’t have a sister but when she lost a baby a few years ago Clara was the name chosen. Who is this man and how does he know this private information.
This 45 minute play builds tension through text, anyone who has played Duskwood will know that instant messaging is an excellent dramatic tool. McNamara’s story plays on the worst fears of any parent and has innovative use of images and videos to build tension (I was too scared to turn the volume up in the end) and the reactions felt genuine; language changing when they thought a child had access to the mobile, a sense of care for these fellow parents that they had grown close to but an awareness that their children brought them together more than anything else.
The lack of interactivity may frustrate many audience members but I enjoyed watching some unfold whilst lying on my bed in a dark room. It is perfect for Halloween, especially when many of cannot or will not be able to celebrate in the usual way. As part of English Touring Theatre’s Signal Fires it strips performance to storytelling, in a format that is familiar to many of us but rarely used creatively. For anyone worried about their privacy participants can hide their number throughtout the show and all details are deleted within 24 hours.
Thursday 29 October – Saturday 31 October 2020 8pm, 9pm, 10pm plus midnight on Sat 31 October
Location: WhatsApp, tickets £1 Recommended Age 16+