EDINBURGH 2017 - BWW Review: PIXEL DUST, Assembly Roxy
A monologue on the themes of technology and identity, Pixel Dust features teenager Daniella, always online in some fashion, vlogging her hopes and dreams into cyberspace.
An outcast at her new school, she escapes into the internet, taking on different identities even as she seeks to discover her own. She feels liberated and empowered online, but the dark side of the internet is always there, saving her humiliation in the cloud, sowing doubt about her friendships and amplifying her need for validation.
The narrative vlog sections are interspersed with poetic flights into Daniella's view of the freedom and potential the internet offers, articulating her wonder at the possibilities open to her online. The highlight in these sections is the lighting and projection by William Reynolds, who also designed the set, however the writing here comes across as trite and self-indulgent.
Simone James works hard as Daniella, tumbling across the cubed performance space, but is not always convincing as a teenager. She manages to bring moments of comedy to the piece as she recreates interactions with gruff friend Jonno or Dani's sometimes overbearing mother.
On the whole, the show does not offer anything new to consider in terms of young people's engagement with technology. While new social networks still capture teenagers' attention, an entire generation has passed since young people first started pouring out their hopes and fears to complete strangers via a computer. People creating new identities for themselves online, the permanent nature of anything posted on the web, cyberbullying, and the hysteria over internet addiction are all well-trodden themes by this point.
Occasional strong moments, particularly in the production design, are not really enough to hold the attention of those likely to be digital natives themselves, and who will likely not find anything revelatory here. Like a Twitter hashtag, it offers thoughts on a theme, but in this case, the trend has already passed.
Pixel Dust runs until August 27 on odd-numbered days at 1.10pm.