Brilliant Jerks review at Vaults, London – ‘authoritative and exhilarating’
No one mentions the name, but we all know what this is about – a taxi-hailing app, that’s revolutionised transportation, growing from an idea in the mind of an American entrepreneur into the world’s most successful start-up. A multi-billion dollar tech giant in over 600 cities worldwide.
Joseph Charlton’s authoritative play Brilliant Jerks tells the story of how it got there, warts and all. Interweaving three narratives – a driver in Manchester struggling with her past, a coder in London struggling with his present, and a CEO in America (Tyler Janowski… hmm) struggling with his gigantic, masculine ego – this three hander elegantly and exhilarating looks underneath the bonnet, and what it finds ain’t pretty.
The sheer scope of Charlton’s play is thrilling – jumping from the streets of rainy Manchester, to poolside parties in Vegas, to Silicon Valley boardrooms, it intimately explores the rise of a tech giant, uncovering both the cut-throat competitiveness and the misogynist work ethos that drove it.
Rosy Banham’s production for Lipsink – the company behind Hear Me Raw – is no less exciting. Chris Withers’ lighting powerfully evokes the seductive, neon-lit decadence of big business. The three superbly naturalistic, role-hopping performers swerve around each other like colleagues in a corridor. Mona Goodwin and Donal Gallery are both excellent, but it’s Luke Thompson’s supremely punchable, utterly charming Tyler that impresses most.
There’s more than a hint of The Social Network here. A really slick, intelligent play that’ll be a 2018 fringe hit. Uber-good.
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