Review: A Mutineer’s Guide to Modern-Day Piracy (Brighton Fringe)

A digital production on Panopto? That brought me right back to the world of work which might have been part of the intention of this show for Brighton Fringe.

Panopto is a platform which is used in universities to record lectures and lessons, to create and edit videos. It is about capturing the moment for wider consumption. Capturing, in all its senses, is what is going on here.

A Mutineer’s Guide to Modern-Day Piracy has quite a bit in its plot about women fighting back against the digital age, capitalism, and the world of male patriarchy. It uses historical figures and a modern setting to make its point.

It is also about the material we give away and the information we share publicly (names, locations, likes, opinions, thoughts). It is about the power of data to influence and control our lives.

Using the spectres of female pirates Anne Bonny and Mary Read, two modern day women set out to change what is going on around them. It starts in a rather comic vein but becomes more serious as it progresses through how we utilise video and social media platforms, and how a wall of data is collated about us.

Cast of A Mutineer's Guide to Modern-Day Piracy

Piracy, of course, has another connotation in modern parlance – where material is downloaded, copied or distributed illegally without the permission of its owners. Another activity normalised by the intrusion of computers into our lives.

The four-strong cast of this production are committed to their text (written by Daniel Coleman) and have created an interesting if occasionally meandering show.

In the dual role of office team N and Assistant, and Read and Bonny, Ez Holland and Amy Whittam catch the comedy aspect of the piece and effectively explore the piracy.

Nick MacCormack is both William the office tech, and corporate data sleuth Icarus (in mythology, you may recall, Icarus flew too close to the sun and lost his wings and life), wbile Nic Lawton is the mysterious X (also co-editor with Holland).

Fringe rating: ***

You can stream A Musketeer’s Guide to Modern-Day Piracy on-demand at the Brighton Fringe until 27 June. Book your free ticket here.