Feed review at Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh – ‘slick, sinister look at SEO’
Theatre Temoin has been an Edinburgh Fringe fixture for a while now, and it’s a company unafraid of tackling big issues – homelessness, post-traumatic stress disorder, depression – in interesting and unconventional ways.
Feed, its new devised show, is about search engine optimisation. Not exactly a thrilling new direction, but Ailin Conant’s production is a disquieting glimpse into the festering heart of the internet, told with a darkness and vibrancy that compulsively grips.
A four-hander, it slips and slides through the story of a slimy SEO manager – a wonderfully reptilian Jonathan Peck – as he takes a well-meaning journalist’s exposé of Israeli crimes in Palestine, and prods it to the top of news feeds everywhere. Along the way, he slyly enlists a fashion blogger and flicks two fingers to the story’s outraged photographer.
There’s a fascinating fluidity to Feed as it stretches and swells, enhancing and exaggerating until there’s blood on the floor, vicious internet trolls at the gates, and Peck is the devil incarnate.
But for all the slick, sinister stylishness of Conant’s show – and there are some tremendously squeamish moments – there’s an element missing here. The internet is a horrific place and can be manipulated in horrific ways – but we knew that already. What else is new?