Vaudeville Theatre, London – until 30 May 2021
Written and performed by Francesca Forristal and Jordan Paul Clarke, Public Domain is now making its first appearance on the West End stage in the Vaudeville Theatre. After a successful digital debut run at the Southwark Playhouse in January 2021 audiences can now experience the live version of this production. The intimacy of the smaller West End venue allows the audience a closer view into the world of the Zuckerbergs and social media.
Millie (Forristal) and Z (Clarke) give energetic and informative performances as they show us the behind the screen side of social media guru Mark Zuckerberg via their fast-paced musical. With upbeat lyrics and a tightly written script, the storyline certainly tells a less upbeat tale.
Billed as a musical comedy Public Domain takes you on a fast track journey through various social media platforms in the guise of two social media influencers. Followers and popularity have become their everyday life. With the need for their next connection or follower becoming an obsession. However, through listening to Z repeat time and again lines containing the word “loneliness” the reality of the influencer world is far from appealing.
We are provided with a verbatim dialogue and extracts from various vloggers, influencers and other users from the social media platform. Some of their names have been changed to allow them anonymity.
Accused of fraudulently exploiting personal data Zuckerberg stood trial in 2018. Forristal and Clarke offer honest and accurate dialogue using footage from the actual trial. It’s an interesting delivery of this incredibly informative piece of recent historical events. How Zuckerberg had treated his employees was a dreadful eye-opener. As social media guru, how much do we know about this private family?
Although there are many negative sides to social media. I particularly liked the insight from the perspective of the older generation, highlighted at the end. Where a couple of people over one hundred used social media platforms to stay connected to their families and the outside world, without it they would have been lonely and isolated especially over the last year in lockdown.
The two interactive booths set on either side of the stage for Z and Millie to use as their influencer platforms are brilliant. The flashing emojis and instant “likes” appearing as they interacted with their online audiences gave an insight into the reality of how these faced paced platforms work.
Director/producer Adam Lenson has bought to life a modern musical which carries a stark “health warning” to those in society who believe that they are free by using the platform of social media to fulfil their lives. It is time to wake up and listen to the birds.
For more information or to buy tickets please use the link below. The musical now runs from 27th-30th May 2021.
PUBLIC DOMAIN – Nimax Theatres
Photographs by © Jane Hobson