Pros: Superb cast, outstanding staging, strong original script.
Cons: There were a few minor dialogue blips.
After 16 years in London, I love the fact that I am still discovering new theatres and the Pleasance, hidden up in Islington, is stunning. As I was ushered into the auditorium and saw three girls dancing in red windows gyrating vacuously from side to side, I knew I was in for a theatrical treat.
Streaming is mesmerising. It’s the perfect example of contemporary drama at its best! This dark drama tells the tragic tale of three lost souls and grips you from the sraer. Rosa is an insolent, yet impressionable, posh 15 year old who is struggling to adapt to life without her recently deceased mother and her lost Chelsea way of life. Toby is Rosa’s father who has turned to alcohol after losing his wife and fortune. Candy is their new acrophobic neighbour with a dodgy boob job who wiles her days as a webcam girl charging men £3.50 per minute to watch her perform. Throw these three characters together, mix them in with some creepy puppets and Wizard Of Oz references, and you have a surprising and gripping show on your hands.
There are so many factors that make this show a cranial feast, most importantly the outstanding performances. The play starts, holding no punches, with a drunk Rosa dancing for us and telling us her life story and how she got to be in her red window. We then, through some fantastic staging, go back to the beginning and see this journey for ourselves. Anna Munden as Rosa is superb. Through Munden’s gripping performance, we see an obtuse and well educated teenager evolve into ‘Dorothy’, her webcam persona. Kyla Goodey as Candy, the damaged neighbour who finds confidence and solace in the cold embrace of the online world, is sublime. From subtle glances and pregnant pauses to perfect comic timing and heartfelt emotion, Goodey’s layered performance is outstanding. The scenes between both Rosa and Candy, as they become friends and sort out their respective dead mother and lost sister issues, is a joy to watch. Equally, Angus Brown is sensational as the tortured Toby. I didn’t warm to Toby at first, yet as the play progresses and he realises the true toll his drinking has taken on his daughter’s innocence, it’s hard not feel for him.
Although there were only three in the cast, there was a fourth vital person on stage: Nix Woods, who played the pivotal role of set changer. Woods was also in charge of all of the fantastic puppetry that would suddenly appear throughout the play. It may sound odd to have puppetry in a play that analyses the descent into online webcamming, but trust me it works. The set as a whole is remarkable as its completely adaptable. Over the course of the play, the three red windows shift into all sorts of different scenarios with ease.
Jon Welch’s original script is superb. I found many of the more dramatic scenes I found riveting to watch as the dialogue and staging was beautifully handled.
Streaming is quite honestly one of the best plays I’ve seen this year and deserves to be supported. This multi-layered work makes you imagine a modern day Oz, in the form of the world wide web, and think about just how easy young girls can be enticed into this dangerous land. Could it be your daughter? Your neighbour? Do you know?