The Nether tries to answer a simple question – should people be able to enact their deepest, darkest desires online if this means they don’t do it in real life?
This incredibly intelligent script focuses on victorian virtual reality ‘The Hideaway’, which cannot be controlled by internet police ‘The Nether’. Within its walls, the codemaster called “Pappa” enncourages his clients to indulge their depraved fantasies with children who look exactly like each other – modelled after a little girl called Iris (played superbly by Isabella Pappas in this production).
Detective Morris (played by Anna Martine) is trying to decipher the code to the realm, but has a secret agenda while interrogating Pappa and client Doyle (played by Stanley Townsend and David Calder), who was turned over by client and spy Mr Cunningham (Ivanno Jeremiah)
The Nether may have exactly five actors throughout, but it doesn’t feel sparce. With quick scene changes and intertwining storylines, there is scope for mystery even after the truth behind the online avatars is revealed. For those who hate predictable plotlines – and I am sure we are many- the big ‘no way!’ moment is still a whopping satisfaction.
The only downside is the ghastly American accents, which varied from ‘weird and pervy Texan’ ‘upper East Side pensioner clashes with Brighton pensioner’ and ‘what the English may think sounds American’. If you can get past the way they sound to what they are saying, it is worth the money.
If the spectacular scene transitions, carried out through computer screens and mirrored box-like structures surrounded by trees, and the weirdly futuristic swishy sounds that hark back to Minority Report had been less impacting, the play wouldn’t have been as strong.
Although the play poses the question of morality, control and privacy in the online world, it doesn’t try to preach an answer. It leaves it up to the
audience to battle the same question on the way to the underground after the show. A week later, I still don’t know my definite answer.
Beg, borrow, or steal and get tickets before the play goes away for good on the 25th of this month.