F. Off

Tatty Hennessy
National Youth Theatre of Great Britain
Underbelly, Cowgate

F. Off

The National Youth Theatre has brought writer Tatty Hennessy’s F. Off to the Fringe where the audience become the jury in the trial between the people vs Facebook’s founder Mark Zuckerberg accused of mishandling and stealing data.

There is much interaction between the audience and the performers in this entertaining, comic courtroom drama with a bite in the tail. As the judge says, “what do you expect, I’m only 15.”

The 13 talented cast members are strong and have embraced the plot with enthusiasm.

We learn about what is a social network demonstrated by using a ball of wool and the whistleblower reveals in the form of a TED Talk how Facebook uses our information to target us for marketing purposes and knows much more than we would imagine about us. These facts are truly worrying.

Zucky is not attending the trial so a member of the audience stands in to help the defence lawyer.

The terms and conditions that we sign up to are visually represented as they are passed from the stage to the very back of the audience to an unsuspected member. Tommy, ironically, works in marketing and volunteers to take part in a magic trick which perhaps goes on for too long. However, it reveals that his biggest worry is Brexit correctly identified by our magician. Now how did he do that?

Running alongside this trial is a subplot about a black prospective Labour MP seeking help from ‘Sub World Analytical Tech.” who convince her to use them in order to get her elected in a Conservative constituency. This is all a little too close for comfort.

Meanwhile, her daughter starts using Twitter to date a boy and it all gets very complicated.

The cast perform with energy, obviously enjoying every minute and the ensemble work is impressive. There is a lot of talent in this company.

As to the outcome, all of the audience agreed that Facebook had failed in its responsibilities to protect its users but when challenged no one was prepared to permanently delete their profile but it made us think about our use of the Internet. NYT has proved its point with conviction.

Reviewer: Robin Strapp

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