3 stars ***
C (Venue 34)
THE STUDENTS of Pepperdine University in California have made a great contribution to the Edinburgh Fringe over the years. And although this latest devised show is a short and surreal piece that still looks a little like a work-in-progress, it’s fascinating to see a company of 12 gifted young theatre artists focus so tightly on the question of how our growing obsession with the internet is reshaping our minds, and our social connections.
So the play revolves around the figure of a student-age girl who goes into meltdown after she discovers that thanks to a Facebook scam, she and her friends have just spent days looking for a missing child who never actually existed. She throws away her phone, and wanders off into an alternative universe in which figures from Greek myth (Andromeda, Perseus) interact with humans trying to re-learn how to conduct real-world relationships -”face to face not face to phone” they chant, like recruits to a 12-step anti-addiction programme.
With the help of devising dramaturg J.C. Marshall, the cast weave their way through songs, stories, glimmering light and strange encounters to something that could be the beginning of a resolution, a new and more rational relationship with the web and the myriad ways it connects us to the unverse; but at that point, sadly, the show comes to an end, just as the argument is becoming ever more interesting.