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A CurtainUp London Review
Teh Internet is Serious Business
The First Act is mostly mystifying. Ok we can grasp everything about Mustafa the schoolboy and his attempt to tell Queen's College about the security gaps on their website and the negative attitude of the teaching staff towards him. But when we visit the site 4chan which appears to be an anything goes image board website it becomes more mysterious. The stereotypical chatroom characters are paraded for us, "Socially Awkward Penguin", "Grumpy Cat","Condescending Willy Wonka" and "Sad Storm Trooper" in costume and we hear that "Pedo Bear" is sent to punish some.
A children's multi-coloured plastic ball pond is at the front of the stage and characters can dive into it and not emerge in view of the audience. Choreographed twirling rap dancers represent the coding of the internet programming or virus used by the hackers to attack websites like those of the Church of Scientology , or Mastercard, Visa and Paypal, targeted because they refused to handle donations to the Wikileaks fund. Hamish Pirie's production is intentionally anarchic. On a lighter note there is the Rickrolling link, which directs the clicker to a video of Rick Astley's "Never Going to Give You Up". But there is also the nasty, trolling and picking on the familiies of child suicides in a"no holds barred" philosophy.
The Second Act sees a concerted attack on Tunisian government departments through something called proxy identities. As the members of Anonymous and LuizSec get politically active to help dissidents in Tunisia and Egypt. From just one unmasking, other members are identified and arrested by the authorities and brought to trial.
There are good performances from Hamza Jeetooa as Mustafa the brilliant schoolboy also known as Tflow and Nathaniel Martello-White as Hector Monsegur or Sabu, the hacker who was released after "truly extraordinary co-operation" with the FBI.
The Internet is Serious Business continues the Royal Court's revolution series looking at what has become of the information highway. It is an energetic, anarchic production with many puzzling aspects.
Retold by Tina Packer of Shakespeare & Co.
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