Review: “Those People” a play about QAnon (Edinburgh Fringe, online)

QAnon is one of those conspiracy groups which was born of Internet forums and given credence by some members of the rich and powerful.

Presented by multi.modal.theatre in the Edinburgh Fringe online programme, Those People looks at extremism and radicalisation, primarily but not exclusively of young people.

Based on interviews and posts on online message boards in the QAnon space, this play is verbatim theatre cum drama documentary, presenting a view of a world where outlandish theories can take hold of people in search of answers.

The QAnon theories and ideas are up for clear ridicule here, but the impact on friendships and families are very real. It is a way to involve the vulnerable and naive in what seems to them a way to explain worrying trends in the world.

The start vs the end of the show, via multi.modal.theatre

We have seen this before with the sim discourse around 9/11, and theories around Covid restrictions and vaccination. Searching for a place of belonging, a sense of community, QAnon is exploitative and on the surface, bonkers, but dangerous too.

Its growth in the USA stoked by President 45 is referenced here, also instances where followers and believers see the light, and seek to help themselves and others.

Can Those People really be called a play? It has something of a storyline, and some discernible characters – yet, it feels much more of a commentary on the situation than one which fully explores it. It is very professionally done, however, if you need a critical primer on the subject.

Written and directed by Harry Walker, who also appears alongside editor/producer Will Bailey, and Coco Calvani, Victoria Finch, Claudia Marks, Steven Murphy, Sam Sayan, Amber Wild, Natty Wilson and Tom Younger.

Image credit: multi.modal.theatre

Fringe rating: *** (and a half)

You can book to watch Those People for free with a small booking fee at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/those-people-a-play-about-qanon – available from 6 August.

LouReviews received complimentary access to review Those People.

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