I have only experienced infinitely milder versions of the sort of online abuse experiences detailed in Blush. I’ve had individuals, clearly with a particular agenda, post comments of a vulgar nature on social media, but never had anything gone viral with thousands of ‘comments’, ‘likes’ and ‘shares’. Is it my general aversion to having my photograph taken? Is it because I don’t ‘do’ dating apps?
Sometimes, someone will post or tweet something quite ridiculous, and get pilloried for it. But it’s difficult to say precisely why certain other people fall victim to character assassination online. It seems to me, more often than not, that certain words or phrases are grossly misinterpreted somewhere along the way, resulting in aggressive and confrontational responses.
Charlotte Josephine and Daniel Foxsmith play three women and two men respectively, plus miscellaneous minor characters. The only named characters, as far as I could deduce, are off-stage ones.
At the centre of the stage is a large circular rug, around which the performers run around at certain points in the proceedings, as though this were a repeated symbol of running around in circles, unsure of what to do. The show does not, rightly, prescribe a set course of action, or a manifesto to eradicate online bullying, but it raises awareness of a highly topical issue, which can only be a good thing.
It is performed well, supported by a strong script which builds to a crescendo like a snowball coming down the mountain getting ever larger before impact. The level of detail in the dialogue is considerable, but it never feels as though any of the details are surplus to requirements. These are details that genuinely add to the show, and to character development, and provide a convincing portrayal of real-life situations.
The rapid pace of the play helped to maintain interest. Not once in this riveting play did I feel like glancing at my watch. Not once did my mind wander towards matters other than the storylines unfolding on stage. Not once did I fail to understand what was going on. More specifically, a woman character is angry because her sister is the subject of a ‘revenge porn’ video. A male character, meanwhile, finds himself embroiled in an online row that almost puts his career in jeopardy. There’s the rub, to coin a phrase: the dark side effects of social media can be felt by anyone, in any given country, working in any given industry.
There are moments of humour to be enjoyed too. My favourite was an early story about a woman receiving a sexually provocative message on her mobile phone, whilst she was shopping at Sainsbury’s.
Not only is the show emotionally intense, it gets very physical at times, so much so that both performers end up drenched in sweat by the end of a late scene. They both flit between characters so easily and flawlessly. In almost any other production of almost any other play, the frequent changes in narrative from one character to another would have made the show unnecessarily complicated. Sex education for the digital age, this tight and extraordinary production is fascinating from start to finish.
Review by Chris Omaweng
‘She just needs to understand that it’s not her fault, that she’s not to blame, that she’s not a slut.’
Three women and two men swim in shame.
Everyone wants revenge.
No one’s talking about it.
Five candid stories about revenge porn and all its many victims.
BLUSH is a slap in the face and a call to arms.
Following a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, Charlotte Josephine, co-founder of Snuff Box Theatre presents her third play following the success of her award-winning Bitch Boxer which received five stars from Guardian and Times.
Directed by Ed Stambollouian, (Awkward Conversations with Animals I’ve Fucked and Old Vic 12).
Performed by Snuff Box Theatre’s co-founder Daniel Foxsmith.
Presented in association with Sphinx Theatre and supported by the Peggy Ramsay Foundation and Unity Theatre.
Running Time: 60 mins
Age Recommendation: 16+
NUFF BOX THEATRE IN ASSOCIATION WITH SPHINX THEATRE PRESENTS
BY CHARLOTTE JOSEPHINE
Tue 16 May – Sat 3 Jun 2017