Review: The Nether @ Chapter 

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Company of Sirens & good cop bad cop – The Nether

Seligman Theatre, Chapter Arts Centre

Friday 17th March 2017 

*you might be triggered reading this. A cautious warning*

It seemed we can’t escape scandals at the moment regarding pedophilia. The perfect example of this is Milo Yiannopoulos and his flippant remarks regarding his childhood priest. So many people are glad his book deal has been cancelled and he has been proven to be the inflammatory troll. It just goes to show that you can say what ever you want, but there are always consequences.

With this in mind, Company of Sirens and good cop bad cop are staging the Welsh premiere of The Nether by Jennifer Haley. It’s a piece which would fit perfectly in an episode of Black Mirror, such is the intent of its statements of reality, action, escapism and causality. The play borders on dangerous ground. The story sees a bizarre near future where the internet has been replaced by the Nether, bridging the gap between what’s real and what you can imagine for yourself.

Through this a detective grills potential child abusers, though the sting is that they only do so in The Nether and not in reality. The piece clumsily goes between interrogations and descents into the fake world. The men linger around a young girl called Iris, who consents to their every wish, as is her programming. Events drag into a less than shocking ending, though the wrapping up is the best moment in an unexpected burst of wilds colliding.

The worrying fact about a work like this is the encouragement it may leave for molesters. We may be a long time away from something like the Nether, but the deep web does exist and is used and abused by those intents on unspeakable things.

The actors give fine examples of how to act at one another and not with one another. This created an odd mood in the venue and didn’t feel like work from two acclaimed theatre companies. A green screen for the Nether scenes was uninspired and could have been created in a dozen other decent ways. A bare soundscape for those scenes is also stale and monotonous.

Most people would be provoked and others left unmoved.

Rating: 3 stars

The Nether continues at Chapter Arts Centre till 25th March.

An extended performance of Satie’s Vexations takes place around Cardiff in 2017, as a fundraiser for OCD UK, with such venues as the Llanishen Parish Church as locations (more to be confirmed). We also need more musicians, venues, electronics artists, rap artists and artists in all fields to help to complete the piece. Follow #CardiffVexations & @weepingtudor on social media to see more! 


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