What If?

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Rating (out of 5)
4
Show info
Company
Tale on Fire
Production
Lydia Maxwell (director)
Performers
Jonah Dill-D'Ascoli, James Keniston-Cooper, Naveed Khan, Alexis Terry
Running time
60mins

Poked anyone interesting recently? If you don’t know what that means, then you’re unlikely to make much sense of “What If?”, an largely successful attempt at addressing that nagging feeling that our virtual social networks are safer and more satisfying than any of those pesky real-life
relationships.

Neil is a straightforward, garden-variety drone. He gets up, he goes to work, he suffers at work, then he goes home, logs on and surfs “MyFace” for a little social preening and even a little TLC. Also in his sights is the idealised figure of “She” – the perfect woman – whom he expects to hunt
down online but is surprised to find working in the real world as a barista at
his local coffee shop. In a series of increasingly desperate and clutzy
encounters, he manages to make a real-life connection with a famous
sportswriter who then, in turn, is desired by “She”, thereby completing the
frustrating love-triangle. There is also a narrator who links the episodes
together.

Told in a distinctive physical style, the most striking thing about Tale on Fire’s
new show is its charming use of a few simple symbolic techniques. In an
overwhelmingly beige colour-scheme, emails are represented by brightly coloured
silken ribbons, which zip back and forth between characters. There’s also a
well-cool jive dancing scene. Where it falls short is perhaps in somewhat
two-dimensional characterisation. Overall, though, a genuinely inventive piece
of theatre.