BWW Review: BUTTERFLIES, VAULT Festival
Flat 4 Theatre make their debut as a company with Butterflies, a quite jarring account of the relationship between Generation Z and technology.
Three young women grapple with living their lives in a world where having an audience, a boyfriend, or struggling with sexual identity goes further than oneself. Their phones become a looking glass that connects their intimacy with the digital stand-ins of actual people.
Technology is a natural part of life for Floss (Holly Hudson), Frankie (Georgia Bishop), and Shannon (Milly Roberts), just as it is for any young person. They live through their mobiles and know the dangers it presents, its codes, and its etiquette. When what is used in their everyday world turns against them, they realise that the online world and reality work in very peculiar synergy.
Natasha Brotherdale Smith pens and directs the fresh and snappy script, putting her audience in front of the insecurities and fears of an entire age group. Even though stereotypical at times, her characters convey the steady uncertainty that young women face today.
It's relatable and witty, albeit still being too similar to a cautionary tale to leave a proper mark in respect of structure and delivery. She does, however, create an interesting dynamic with her direction, using a single static set to move the action through the three girls' bedrooms.
The cast is bubbly and energetic, managing to build compelling links among them without ever talking to one another. Their interweave the separate monologues and install a convincing narrative bouncing off each other's parts.
Butterflies starts a reflection that might need to be explored more within its text first but - despite there being plenty of room to develop the play in terms of depth of the subject - launches the company into the still fairly uncharted territory of telling mature stories for and about those who come after the much-talked about Millennials.