30 September 2021
Old Red Lion Theatre
3.5 out of 5.0 stars
Last week I saw one of the first performances of Snowflakes by Dissident Theatre at the Old Red Lion. Snowflakes is a Black Mirror esque dystopian story that examines the repercussions of trial by media. Marcus and Sarah are contract killers for a dark web start-up that streams “interviews” with the public villain of the moment, before dispatching them in front of their crowd funding audience.
Marcus is the experienced poster boy for the company, while Sarah just moved up to fieldwork from the offices. They start out bickering with each other a little, giving the audience some clues as to the nature of their work. Marcus genuinely delights in hurting and liquidating his targets, while Sarah approaches their work from a more practical angle of simply ridding the world of bad people who deserve what’s coming to them.
Their target, known author Tony who was very publicly accused of assaulting a woman in his youth, denies all allegations against him, but goes on long rants against millennials and their retaliatory culture, trying to add meaning to a world that doesn’t suit them. These long rants seem a little too well thought out and formulated for the situation Tony finds himself in, tied to a chair in front of a live-stream to an audience who has already made up their minds about him.
The premise seems to take the current social media prosecutions of people in the public eye to an extreme, adding physical and emotional torture, and often death, to the menu. I do think the play has great potential with just a few little cuts and changes here and there. It’s definitely a compelling presentation with many memorable quotes like “Beware the woke white man!”, but does stretch a bit too much.
Marcus seems to be the most well developed character, while Tony did strike me as a little too engineered and polished. Sarah didn’t have much of a character at all, flowing from confident and sassy to helpless little girl to badass angel of revenge. There’s great potential here and I do hope to see Snowflakes develop into a dystopian think-piece it can become.