Connection Unsecure: Continue? - Review

Words, words, words

review by Barry Hewlett-Davies

 

I'll put my cards on the table. When the lights came up on Izzie Mackenzie and Ben Pritchard in white face and rehearsal clothes, peering through wooden frames, I prepared myself for one of those "improvised" evenings which slide into self-indulgence if you don't watch out.

How wrong I was. What we got was a beautifully articulated love story.

It took time to set the action. Mark Wilson, the director, and Izzie and Ben, the co-devisers, use social electronic networking – sorry about the clunky phrasing but how else to say it ? – as their framework. Two wretchedly detached lonely people measure their social success by the number of "Friends" they clock up on what looks like Facebook.

But how real are the Friends ?

Over the next 50 minutes we find out. Fifty minutes is the play's natural length because that is the way it naturally developed.

Izzie and Ben ("Frankie" and "Charlie") visit all sorts of situations: comic, violent, drunken, tearful, despairing, hopeful and just plain daft before falling literally into each others' arms. It's wonderful to see them at work, both have such truth to bring to their acting.

As their painted masks gradually melt away, so do their uncertainties and by the end of the piece, you find yourself really wanting them to be happy.

Mark Wilson writes successful radio drama. This play, with its words, words, words, might seem a natural for broadcasting, too – but then you would miss seeing very accomplished actors at work.

There is no judgment of Facebook. It is simply a means to an end. I have a French friend who insists on calling it Fessebouc and I don't believe I need add anything to that.

Devised theatre is a gamble as well as a very lonely experience for the people concerned. You can put your money on this one with absolute confidence.