Theatre review: The Me Plays at the Old Red Lion Theatre

The Me Plays at the Old Red Lion Theatre Islington

The Me Plays at the Old Red Lion Theatre Islington - Credit: Archant

It is a complaint commonly heard these days that we live in a world ever more detached from reality, but what effect does this have on us?

The first in a two play monologue, both written and performed by Andrew Maddock, sheds some light on the impact on the modern man. His character is hovering around the age of 30 and single. He is a self-confessed porn addict and a keen user of Tinder, but he’s eager to make that connection with a special someone.

The stage is etched with lines spread across the floor that appear to be without form, but as time passes it becomes increasingly noticeable that these represent different types of boxes and different types of prisons.

For all the promised freedoms of the digital age, there is the reductive force of human impulse and desire, perennial fears and timeless woes. In a world devoured by the sensation FOMO (natch, ‘fear of missing out’) and boundless porn only a finger click away, how do we suffer? In a taut hours’ worth of theatre, this is an amble through the murky world of disconnect in the age of connectivity.

The second play is anchored with the topic of mortality. Scene opens and our narrator is shackled to a hospital bed terminally ill. During the course of his story, he will delve into the past and for every moment that he does so, he steps forward away from the hospital sheets and speaks with wry reflection, a smile creeping upon his face as the warmth of nostalgia provides momentary respite. When the moment passes, he slinks back to the bed. This second play is not without its missteps. Slightly baggy and indulgent in parts, it nevertheless evokes a potent punch come the conclusion.

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All in all, these are compelling plays. The rhythm of Maddock’s words tumble in a mellifluous fashion, chiming with humour and heart, joy and tears. He has much in common with contemporaries Thomas Pickles and Ben Moor: likeminded wordsmiths who create a singular, compelling universe. This work signposts a wonderful new talent on the theatre stage.

Rating: 4/5 stars

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The Me Plays are at the Old Red Lion Theatre until 20th September 2014

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