Jestia and Raedon, C Nova, Review

Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Here Theatre
Andy Brock (director), Lowell Belfield (writer), Rachel Hunter (producer).
Sarah Livingstone (Jestia), Archie Henderson-Cleland (Raedon).
Running time

Welcome viewers to the world of TV, a diet of cooking programmes, quiz shows and old comedy reduced to a rectangle of flickering light.

And of course reality TV, the one thing that our pair of characters are looking forward to, a glittering glimpse into loves and lives that will consume them.

Swallow them it does, as stepping through the screen they individually audition for a reality game show that will see them choose between love and betrayal. Of course, the selling of privacy is profitable and that decision will also seem them also win or lose financially.

While Raedon seems to have a monopoly on miserable, Jestia is fun, dizzy and bouncy, or at least on the surface, as each has insecurities and wonders “where have all the good men / women gone?”.

In episodic flashes separated by washes of static we learn a little of their back-story; education, parents, being cheated on. Their slowly revealing history and fledgling relationship are eagerly watched by a global audience of viewers (also played by the duo) and analysed, commented on and picked-over. These voyeur/viewers also play a darker role in sending messages. While Jestia and Raedon know that it is all a game and agree to ignore the baited communications the temptation and subsequent confessions have unsettling results.

When it comes down to money, love and betrayal there will be ten seconds in which to decide their fate, and life suddenly becomes very real.

This production responds to TV shows like “Big Brother” and it’s various dating and relationship reality offspring and looks at the psychology of both contestants and ardent fans. Is money sufficient reason to take part and for the viewers are the pleasures only voyeuristic - some salacious, some malicious? There is also the more complex psychology of schadenfreude, where there is reassurance to be gained from seeing that our lives are better than theirs or that we can still find empathy in a cold, modern world. There is also a disquiet about our connection with reality in today’s web-linked virtual world as shown in the film “The Truman Show”.

This is about a staged reality and in that it falls a little between all out romance and a critique of the boob-tube. There isn’t enough time or plot to allow the characters to develop in 3D, nevermind HD, and it’s difficult to obtain that closeness that the viewers seek. Jestia gets the nearer with some good emotional scenes but Raedon is handed some lines that are nearer to sketch show material.

It’s well performed and designed, with an appropriate stripped-back look and manages to be compelling to watch - had it been produced 15 years ago the impact would have been greater.

It may not glitter and consume like the much anticipated TV show within but it deserves reasonable viewing figures if not top ratings.

Show Times: 30 July to 25 August 2014 (not 11) at 3.25 pm

Ticket Prices: £8.50 (£6.50) to £10.50 (£8.50)