In today’s society, the concept of privacy seems to go amiss as social media, publications and news all focus in some way on the human form and how it appeals to audiences. Lucy Kirkwood (best known for her stunningly observed work as a writer on gritty teen drama Skins and Sky One’s The Smoke) writes NSFW. Kirkwood provides a snappy and shocking insight which solely focuses on the dangers of what has become so natural and habitual in the world of journalism today.
The play is set in an editorial suite of a lad’s magazine entitled Doghouse, where a young intern Sam (Johnathon Bridley) is put in charge of selecting a woman to appear in her underwear on the cover of the magazine after their boyfriends nominate them for the role. As disgusting and crude as such a task may seem, the plot does nothing but thicken when the father of the winning young girl calls up the magazine’s editor Aiden (Will Thorp) to reveal that she is in fact fourteen: and therefore making the whole thing seedy and perverted, not to mention illegal. This simple yet extremely effective storyline allows the audience to indulge in the disturbing truths and terrifying allegations that reside inside modern-day media platforms under the pretense of providing great quality texts, and the modest and minimalist wonder of Anna Poole’s directing adds to the realism and bitterness of the play. The use of non-diegetic video and sound effects also contributed to the success of the play and its values.
A highlight of the play was easily Richard Corgan’s razor sharp portrayal of Mr Bradshaw; the father of the exploited teen. There were moments where as an audience member I was completely captivated in my shared hatred towards the other characters, but as the story progressed I was manipulated into feeling elements of sympathy for them as the man’s true colours are revealed and suddenly nobody is as innocent as they seem.
The play was supported by Chapter Arts Centre in Canton but was brought to the stage by Waking Exploits, Wales’ only producer-led touring theatre company, who intend to innovate, inspire, provoke debate and entertain their audiences through contemporary theatre. Each objective is successful in NSFW, as it is hard-hitting to what is extremely relevant and concerning in today’s society.
Review by Rachael Hutchings