After impressing us in 2015 with a punchy look at teenage privilege and pressures in A First World Problem, playwright Milly Thomas returns to Battersea's Theatre 503 with new play Clickbait.
The well-developed plot follows teenager Nicola Baker (played with depth by Georgia Groome) as she decides how to cope with the threat that an unauthorised x-rated video of her in an Ibiza nightclub will be posted online.
Much to the dismay of concerned older sister Gina, Nicola makes the flash decision to post the video herself and take control of the situation. Cue social media frenzy, paparazzi and a deluge of propositions (many as lewd as they are lucrative).
Refusing to be silenced by the inevitable slut-shaming and judgement, Nicola recreates herself as a webcam 'artist', cashing in on her new notoriety. Older sister Gina (Amy Dunn) is cajoled into working as manager while worldly kid sister Chloe (Alice Hewkin) wheedles her way into the business, bringing social media savvy and big ideas about marketing. The sharpness of the dialogue doesn't always match the sophistication of the story and compared to the lively, life-like rendering of Nicola and Chloe, the other characters feel flat.
Comedy comes from observations so sharp they'll make you splutter — especially the snippets of internet talk, performed by actors in masks. And director Holly Race Roughan maintains a pacy tension across the full two hours and twenty minutes.
As it unfolds, the story hooks and surprises, surpassing the familiar tropes of the scarlet women. When the ending brings empowerment and exploitation into uncomfortable proximity, Clickbait raises more questions than it answers, and forces its audience to reconsider their own snap judgements about morality, consent and power.
|What||Clickbait, Theatre 503 review|
|Where||Theatre 503, The Latchmere, 503 Battersea Park Road, London, SW11 3BW | MAP|
|Nearest tube||Clapham Common (underground)|
19 Jan 16 – 13 Feb 16, 7:45 PM – 10:00 PM
|Price||£12 - £15|
|Website||Click here to book tickets via Theatre 503|