7 Sep

By Kevin Mandry
At the White Bear Theatre.

What did we do without the internet? For This play we have to remember what it was like in the nineties when the system  was in its infancy
Terri, beautifully played by Felicity Jolly,  is a young girl who is lodging with Ross, a failed photographer and is helping him in his current occupation, making brochures, working the computer – and tidying up after him.  He doesn’t pay her, but she thinks of her job as a learning curve. Terri loves the internet. It is a way of making friends, getting to know people she would never normally meet. She is dressed in 90s boho. Boots, a floor length skirt and a long pullover. As the play begins, she is working through a box of discarded toys, finding a Rubiks cube, she very quickly solves it and throws it into the bin.
Terri is worried that Ross didn’t come home last night. When he arrives he says he has been visiting herons and  he quotes Yeats. .’We had fed the heart on fantasies, The heart’s grown brutal from the fare’
Ross (Stephen Riddle) was once famous, used to be known as Black Ross – a follower of  Black Sabbath. He distrusts the internet, He sees it as a world of impossible promises, impossible demands and constant disappointments and believes that fantasy could become virtual reality, because everything exists deep in peoples’ minds. As he says just one click and the picture is encapsulated for ever. But what happens when  fantasy becomes more real than flesh. Will people spend hours watching fake news.
Kate, (Anna Tymoshenko) an old girl friend arrives at the house. In contrast to Terri, she is dressed conventionally. She has made her fortune in the Beauty business with a series of beauty shops across the country and possesses a house with four bedrooms and five bathrooms. She has arrived, bent on some kind of revenge.
When Ross talks of beauty, she remembers it differently. She talks of what it is to be a woman, always on show for that unattainable perfection, Society’s obsession with conformity. She talks of Bryony, Ross’s model, who suffered from her beauty and her desire to be perfect. Men only see the cover, not interested in what is underneath. In the nineties, there was no such thing as ‘ME TOO’.

I found the play unsatisfactory, even though the performances throughout were excellent. I listened carefully to all Mandry’s arguments but they were too confused, nothing was resolved. The play deals with corruption, computers, jealousy, fantasy, revenge, photography, feminism etc. It seemed to me that he was covering too many subjects and could only give each one rather superficial attention.


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