What would happen if your utopian false reality included a disreputable business where inspective forces are on the end of finding out about it? The Royal Court’s West End transfer of Jennifer Harley’s, ‘The Nether’ was an enthralling play about virtual realities, along with impressive performances.
‘The Nether’ is set in two locations, one in a questioning room and the other is a gleaming paradise in the year 2050, but this paradise is being heavily scrutinised by police investigator, Morris. Sims, a spine-chilling individual has been hiding a hard-drive to a virtual reality that is resplendent with debauchery as he has a fascination with a girl called, Iris (Perdita Hibbins) who has to entertain men who are desperate for a good time. However, what Sims is completely unaware of is that Morris has been hoodwinking him by sending former school professor, Doyle to seek out the hard-drive that Sims is hell-bent at defending. As such Doyle’s entire physicality is completely changed to someone else as to not arouse suspicion. Throughout the performance, Sims appears to become mentally infatuated with Iris, which suggests he has a desire for paedophilia, and when his client, Woodnut (Ivano Jeremiah) arrives for an evening of passion with Iris. Obviously, the evening is full of glitches from the outset. Within the investigations by Morris, she interrogates both Sims and Doyle as the hard-drive is an important source of information and constantly forces Doyle to keep Sims in a false sense of security. When Iris and Woodnut for a strong bond, Sims develops an immense level of jealousy and contemplates whether to send Iris to “boarding school” and explains that he can find any girl with similar features. Iris reassures Sims of her loyalty to him and the services that she provides. Morris is pleased by this as it allows the investigation to progress. At the finale, Sims and Doyle have to make a complex decision whether to continue living in an unnatural world, nonetheless they conclude that the virtual reality should end and Morris is then informed by the hard-drive’s whereabouts. Harley’s narrative is enchanting as you are made to image what the future could be with even more technological innovations could pose a potential threat to those searching for criminals.
One found the performances by the company of, ‘The Nether’ to be increasingly intriguing as the transitioning of the characters’ intensions works wonders through superb vocals and movement executions. Stanley Townsend is excellent as the paedophilia enthusiast, Sims; in particular the creepy moments when he is touching Iris in ways that’s completely horrific and instils a sense of repulsion that is necessary to convey such a role. Amanda Hale is ideas as the detective, Morris; exclusively when she seems to be under pressure to locate the hard-drive of this virtual world, as well as, its visible to see that the woman is in command of how Doyle is supposed to react when he enters The Nether. David Calder is delightful as Morris’ puppet, Doyle; for example when he states that his career has been destroyed by technological advancements have enabled students to be taught with a virtual teacher rather than a face-to-face scholar.
Jeremey Herrin’s direction is prevailing here as he has created a futuristic atmosphere where paedophilia is still a frequent problem and that a virtual haven can allow this to maintain a key presence in the world; moreover, there is a shock factor within the intimate scenes between Iris and Sims. Es Devlin’s set design, incorporated with Luke Hall’s video design is astonishing as I was transported to a world that could be a reminder of how the globe could be like when I am older. Plus the combination of traditional forms of design with cotemporary methods suggests how theatre attempts to be ever-changing. Overall, the experience of, ‘The Nether’ was an imaginative and eye-catching show about the real and false representations of reality.