PLEASE, FEEL FREE TO SHARE at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
“Róisín Bevan commands the stage right from the start”
Please, Feel Free to Share is Rachel Causer’s latest script — a one woman show about social media, addiction to group therapy, and compulsive lying. If this sounds downbeat, heavy stuff, it’s not. It’s a funny, insightful look into how easy it is to become hooked on the things that don’t matter, while ignoring the things (and people) that do. Playing at the intimate Attic space at the Pleasance Courtyard, Please, Feel Free to Share is sixty minutes of watching the outwardly successful Alex (played by Róisín Bevan) take apart her self sabotaging strategies at work, and in her personal life. It’s often hilarious, and oddly heartwarming.
Causer’s plays often feature wry observations about the work world. She sees things we either miss, or fail to take as seriously as we should, as we go about our busy lives. Causer also sees how our professional lives bleed into our personal lives in ways that can injure both. In Please, Feel Free to Share, Alex’s life begins to spiral out of control as she adapts successful social media strategies at work for managing her personal life. But adapting a professional strategy designed for advertising purposes — to promote a product — somehow doesn’t seem quite right when the “product” is you. Causer strips away the false importance of maintaining a social media presence for what it is: a way of plastering over shortcomings that would be obvious if we didn’t spend so much time covering them up. As a successful social media consultant, Alex racks up the new Instagram followers at work, while posting pictures to boost a carefully tailored online personal profile. In the meantime, she hasn’t taken the time to grieve the loss of her father, and she keeps getting messages about her estranged mother from a hospital she doesn’t call back. Finally her boss suggests she takes some time off, and suggests a group therapy session to help with grieving. Alex takes her boss’ advice—and her carefully curated life starts to unravel. Desperate to find approval any way that she can, Alex builds a completely false story around the recent death of her father at the group therapy session. And once she starts lying, of course she can’t stop.
Please, Feel Free to Share is a timely play, and performer Róisín Bevan commands the stage right from the start. Dressed in eye-catching pink and orange, and in a small space decorated only with matching chairs, she takes immediate charge of the performance space, and the audience. Bevan begins by showing exactly how convincingly Alex can lie. Then in a breathtaking switcheroo, Bevan exposes Alex the liar. And having established that Alex is an unreliable narrator, and is in many ways, quite an unlikeable character, Bevan, as Alex, still manages to maintain the audience’s sympathy. This is very competent work, and does Causer’s script credit. Please, Feel Free to Share also confirms that Rachel Causer is a playwright to watch. Recommended.
Reviewed 5th August 2022
by Dominica Plummer
Photography courtesy Chloe Nelkin Consulting
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