Thursday, 28 January 2021

REVIEW: Public Domain at the Southwark Playhouse (Online)

“We came here to find friends, and just like that I felt a little less alone” 

Poignant lyrics from the opening of Public Domain a new musical which looks at online connections. 

Written and performed by Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke, this new two-hander musical takes you on a journey through the world of social media following 2 vloggers and featuring some unapologetic Facebook satire. 

The show is written entirely using online content such as tweets, Youtube videos and Instagram posts. Every lyric and line is taken directly from the internet and social media whilst following the two aspiring influencers who feel surprisingly relatable. The teenage characters both contain attributes we probably all encompass in one way or another and give an unfiltered insight into the positives and negatives of the online world. 

The musical looks closely to rising numbers of influencers using fake news to self promote and directs much of its scrutiny to Facebook by highlighting Mark Zuckerburg's 2018 congressional testimony. Interviews and news clips surrounding the privacy scandal along with personal interviews at their family home. These may be interesting to some but for me, they were distracting and I found myself wanting more from the main characters journey.

Directed by Adam Lenson and recorded live from the Southwark Playhouse the quality of the recording is excellent and it was refreshing to see some clever staging on a minimal set. Matt Daws lighting design really boosted the dynamics of the production by using LED strip lights that provided various effects throughout. 

Seamless blends between live theatre with recorded media really give dimension and left me interested to know how the show may have differed in a live theatre environment. That being said they did remind me of secondary school roadshows which made me wonder if this concept is the perfect way to educate future generations on the dangers of the world wide web. 

Without a doubt, the highlight of this show is the musical composition. Clarke & Forristal are both incredibly talented, the soundtrack really is excellent. The penultimate song surrounding our older generations introduction to the online world was simply stunning and I won’t be forgetting ‘and just like that’ anytime soon. 

This particular show may not be everyone’s cup of tea but there is no doubt that this creative pair will go far in the industry and I for one will be looking out for what they do next. 

Review by Alyssa Tuck

Rating: ★★★

Seat: Online | Price of Ticket: £10 for 24-hour access

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