Review: A Red Square (Brighton Fringe)

A show made up of over 4,000 PowerPoint slides may take you straight back into the 1990s, or at least back to a day at the office.

Australian collective Pony Cam have created a fringe show unlike any other, with sex, violence, a lost child, and the perils of being an actor, all played out by the central character, A Red Square.

This is a show which requires a curious form of interactivity, involving a Google form and a photo, not to mention all that clicking, as you follow the Red Square through a three act drama.

Not only do we see the regular rituals of courtship, marriage, and in the case of these Squares, adoption of their own little Red Square, but also tragedy, nightmares, and technical takeovers.

Liam Neeson plays a large part in Act Three, in image and through his public profile, but to tell you more of how this story transpires would spoil this very weird and unsettling creation.

Promotional image for A Red Square

Despite my inability to get this to work on my Chromebook (not the greatesr host for slideshows), I did eventually have success on my phone. A small point, but despite the innovative aspect of creating this many slides, in so much detail, I remain unconvinced that this is a suitable conduit for digital theatre.

The story and its animation – you, as the “audience” experience both at your own pace – are deceptively simple but constantly complex. You become so engaged in the story of the Red Square that glimpses of the human face actually jar a little.

There is no denying that this is a show like no other – it recently played as part of Sprint Digital at Camden People’s Theatre, where it rubbed shoulders with other quirky pieces created for the computer screen.

Pony Cam are to be congratulated for thinking outside the box on this one, and for the obvious work which has gone into A Red Square‘s “nostalgic narratives, crappy cartoons, and cultural taboos”.

Fringe rating: ****

You can experience A Red Square until 27 June in the Brighton Fringe. You need access to PowerPoint and the ability to download files. Book your ticket (£10) here.

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