The Forum


Siren's Production Company
Underbelly

Stories of modern teen tragedy, gender confusion and disenfranchisement are nothing new at the Fringe. Having a unique hook can often be enough to give material a boost above the parapets of conventionality. In that respect The Forum manages to take which sounds on paper, to be a terrible idea, and make it work. In this case the unique twist is that the majority of the play takes place with the cast conversing with one another each other over an internet chatroom, the titular 'Forum'. Instead of seeming trite, the use of internet lingo and the cast physically demonstrating the use of emoticons such as 'hugs' and 'smiley faces' at first to comic effect, then later to great poignancy, works.

The troupe playing the Forum members each eke out their individual piece of the story as their problematic lives become the discourse of the chatroom. Despite the fact that the characters are fairly basic archetypes, they invest the internet chat with believable amounts of emotion - and comedy, the real lives only intersecting briefly and largely unintentionally, meaning the meat of the play is portrayed as being over cyberspace. However this acts in the play's favour as the story inevitably draws to an unexpectedly touching and brilliantly devised conclusion.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan