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Twitstorm review at Park Theatre, London – ‘misjudged and feeble’

The cast of Twitstorm at Park Theatre, London. Photo: Darren Bell

There’s a thrilling, thought-provoking play to be written about the vituperative vengeance of social media, but Chris England’s new comedy Twitstorm definitely isn’t it.

Guy (Jason Merrells) is a lovably scornful TV host, whose cosy London life is turned upside down when an illegal immigrant (Tom Moutchi) arrives at his home claiming to be the starving sub-Saharan African that Guy has long sponsored via direct debit.

An inappropriate joke and an accidental tweet later, and suddenly there’s a press pack at the door and a petition to have Guy sacked gaining momentum online.

England’s concern – Twitter’s unchecked tendency to loudly and damagingly take offence at anything – is a compelling one, but any sophistication in his argument is lost in a mess of implausible plotting, feeble humour, tonal inconsistency and faintly offensive stereotyping. What should be a daring examination of liberal morality ends up the theatrical equivalent of a middle-aged Top Gear fan moaning about “political correctness gone mad”.

Jonathan Lewis’ spritely production is enlivened by several decent performances – from Justin Edwards as Guy’s nice-but-nervous scriptwriter and from Ben Kavanagh as a preening cultural commentator – and makes a commendable stab at invention, with scrolling Twitter feeds projected above Anthony Lamble’s living room set. Ultimately, though, it can’t escape England’s staggeringly misjudged play.

 

Verdict
A misjudged and feeble new comedy scrutinising the vituperative vengeance of social media

Production Information

Production
Twitstorm
Venue
Park
City
London
Starts
May 31, 2017
Ends
July 1, 2017
Press night
June 1, 2017
Authors
Chris England
Composer
Matthew Strachan
Director
Jonathan Lewis

Set
Anthony Lamble
Lighting
Tim Mitchell
Sound
Chris Packham
Costume
Sarah Mills
Stage manager
Nicola Redfern
Production manager
Nicolas May
Casting
Justin Edwards, Chris England, Claire Goose, Ben Kavanagh, Jason Merrells, Tom Moutchi
Producer
Park Theatre
Running time
2hrs