Pros: An endearing performance from Sam Skuse. Acute observations about life in the early 2000’s, with some laugh-out-loud moments.
Cons: Perhaps I missed the profundity, but I was left wondering what the point of this show was.
The millennial generation, sometimes called generation Y, is used to describe people born from the mid-eighties to the early nineties, though the boundaries are fluid. For this generation, of which I can call myself a member, 9/11 and the 7/7 bombings were defining moments. ‘Millennials’ were also the first Facebook and Twitter users. We came of age in a world of screens and constant, instant interconnectivity.
Tom Nicholas’ one-man-show Static is a humorous look at this generation. Sam Skuse plays an unnamed boy; a sensitive and thoughtful millennial . Acts of terrorism, including school shootings, loom large in his imagination. From a young age, he is obsessed with rolling news and his greatest ambition is to one day appear on Newsnight with his hero Jeremy Paxman. I will not spoil for you whether or not he achieves this goal.
Static is essentially a coming of age drama and there are some painfully accurate and very funny observations about adolescence. Sam Skuse is downright endearing as the boy. The night I attended there was a very small audience (presumably due to the London Tube strikes), but he was undaunted and delivered an engaging performance. He made us laugh out loud, which cannot be easy with a small and self-conscious audience.
The Space, a converted church on the Isle of Dogs, is an atmospheric venue that Everything Theatre returns to frequently. For this show, the stage was bare except for a few television screens displaying the ‘static’ of the title. Two functioning screens behind the stage play prerecorded video footage. These were used to show Skuse playing additional characters, including his mum, dad, and a teenage girl he chatted up at a party. I usually find integrated video in plays pointless, but thought here it was used effectively.
However, for all of its good points, I left the theatre feeling unsure what the point of Static was. Was it meant to be a commentary of life filtered through the media, or a touching coming of age story, or something else altogether? I am honestly not sure. What I can say is that, despite a wonderful set of ingredients, I was left feeling malnourished.