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FLIP!, Summerhall Edinburgh review - sassy, satirical parable | reviews, news & interviews

FLIP!, Summerhall Edinburgh review - sassy, satirical parable

FLIP!, Summerhall Edinburgh review - sassy, satirical parable

A Faustian fable of online influence crackles with energy and attitude

Pitch-perfect performers: Leah St Luce (left) and Jadesola Odunjo (right) in Racheal Ofori's 'FLIP!'Images - Tristram Kenton

You can almost feel the energy blazing off the stage in this fast, furious and fiercely funny two-hander from writer Racheal Ofori and Newcastle-based Alphabetti Theatre. Don’t blink or you’ll miss a crucial plot twist, or a nifty swerve into new characters, or even a major technological development.

But behind all the japes, attitude and theatrical playfulness, there are broader, more human issues being explored here. Carleen and Crystal are urban 20-somethings who’ve done well with their amusing musings for online consumption via a platform that feels very much like YouTube ("Questions I hate: do black people burn in the sun?"). When the wider exposure and vastly increased revenues of new platform FLIP! beckon, however, they’re a huge temptation – even if they threaten to take their toll on the two women’s friendship, as well as their privacy.

Ofori’s Faustian fable is embedded in the world of online likes, subscribers and trends (not to mention deepfakes), and director Emily Aboud’s whipcrack, high-precision production whistles along with appropriately breathless speed. Aboud has two pitch-perfect performers, too, in Leah St Luce and Jadesola Odunjo: they’re astonishingly adept at leaping linguistically from London drawl to West Coast business-speak, for instance, as well as lip-synching to AI and embodying some grubby male misogyny. What’s more impressive, though, is that behind the dazzling theatrical fireworks, St Luce and Odunjo chart a convincing course from blasé naivety to division and ruthlessness, as hopes give way to the realities of an all-powerful technology. Anna Robinson’s simple but effective Tetris-like set provides an adaptable backdrop, while choreographer Aline David ensures plenty of slick moves and viral-ready gestures.

Clocking in at just 75 minutes, FLIP! might feel like quite a slight, short show. Which makes it all the more gratifying just how much Ofori manages to pack in. By its dark but inevitable conclusion, FLIP! feels like a sassy, satirical parable for our increasingly uncertain times.

Director Emily Aboud’s whipcrack, high-precision production whistles along with breathless speed

rating

Editor Rating: 
4
Average: 4 (1 vote)

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