The Grid

Written by Alex Joynes & Laura Kate Barrow
Directed by Chris Tomlinson & Matt Rutter
Devised and performed by Young Everyman & Playhouse (YEP)
Liverpool Everyman
22nd April - 26th April 2014

Reviewed by Colin Serjent
Photograph by Brian Roberts

Set in 2034 this is an Orwellian-like future in which social media has taken over people's lives, who have become subservient to the whims of digital technology.

Featuring a cast of over 50 young people from the enterprising Young Everyman & Playhouse (YEP), this was the latest, although their first appearance at the newly opened Everyman, of a series of innovative productions they have staged over the last few years.

They are all connected to a grid, an implant in their hand, which the network, not overtly named or even suggested, can delve into each person's mindset. - their innermost thoughts and feelings.

In the first half of the play - which was a mite too long and slightly repetitive - the young people are thrilled at being part of this 'brave new world', where access to knowledge, as it is in the present, is literally a series of typing finger movements away.

But their joy soon turns into despair of the darkest sort, when they lose contact with the grid. This results in them being left isolated, and they start to seriously analyse and question among themselves how this technology has affected them and the consequences thereof.

The quality of the acting, not surprisingly given YEP's track record, is impressive. But I am unable to give particular credit to individual performances because there are no name checks in the programme. The whole cast can all take a bow!

But special mention goes to the writers, Alex Joynes and Laura Kate Barrow, with the production containing some top notch and insightful dialogue, as well as the extraordinary set design, devised by Katie Scott, and lighting design by Christina Eddowes, assisted by YEP Young Technicians and Base Technicians.

The striking set design included a menacing looking bank of spotlights at the back of the stage, with single lights being intermittently switched on and off, together with an assortment of lights and wiring hanging from the ceiling. It included what appeared to be a large set of flickering candles, perhaps symbolising a throwback to simpler times.

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Comment left by Colin Serjent on 25th April, 2014 at 12:10
I forgot to mention. Handheld devices will be replaced by communication systems the size of a grain of sand, implanted into the body.