I’m standing next to you

From the Mill Theatre Company bring I’m standing next to you to the Manchester Fringe.  From the company:

Our world has never been more connected. We can contact people around the world instantly, like their photos on Facebook and comment on their lives. So why do increasing numbers of people feel isolated?

It’s played out in a side room of Twenty Twenty Two, tiled and lined with table tennis prints.  The audience fills the space, and the three actors emerge from the crowd, delivering their monologues as people move to surround them.

Three characters address different issues relating to the way our over-connected world is affecting our lives.  A young mother feels isolated, her husband inattentive and her baby a difficult change from her working life.  A young man lives his life through watching others on social media, but seems to have meaningless personal interactions.  A woman tries to find love in the complex and difficult world of internet dating, a world she can only try to understand.

It’s a very tricky topic to write about, not least because of diverging views on how social media affects our lives, and the risk of cliches.  But this production falls firmly to the view that excessive, unrealistic sharing leads to the risk of loneliness and isolation, and the characters reflect this view.  It’s very well acted, and each character is convincing and well formed.  But it’s the quality of writing that really stands out; there’s a great interview here discussing how the writing was developed with the actors.  The performances are very honest and there’s an effective balance of humour and desperation, of internal strength and the need for external recognition.    This play really does get its message across, and the immersive environment works well.

If you’re touched by loneliness in the modern over-connected world then I’m standing next to you is the perfect show for you.  Well written, well acted, you’re in the moment, and it clearly demonstrates what the Fringe can achieve.  Two more performances on 16 July – see GMFringe website for details.

Theatre lover, amateur director, occasional actor, writer.

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