- Gareth K Vile
- 18 August 2017
A young man on a journey towards mass murder
Beginning with a funny and detailed description of the protagonist's early experiments with masturbation, Alex Packer's terse script considers an individual case of radicalisation: a young man, failing in romance and sex, but enjoying on-line gaming, discovers Men's Right Activism and goes on a shooting spree. What begins as a naturalistic monologue devolves into a series of performance poems, pulling back from precise description to an allusive climax.
Mark Conway's energetic performance is ill-served by this transition. The script excels in the details of growing up and even the unpleasant public shaming that triggers the rampage: the switch to doggerel, all rhymes and references, destroys the mode and pictures the radicalisation as a montage. It fails to make the argument that online gaming leads to violence, or convincingly depict the seduction of a romantic young man into a misogynist killer. The description of the shooting is flat and the carefully wrought characterisation is replaced by a simplistic caricature of a thug.
The influence of Philip Ridley is writ large in the script and, in the first half an hour, shares Ridley's terse yet emphatic attention to telling details – the scenes of family break up are movingly expressed. The climax is a weak retort, for all its ugly language and brutal imagery.
Pleasance Courtyard, until 28 Aug, 2.15pm, £10–£12 (£8–£10).