Edinburgh Festival: Caught in the Net (3 stars)

“Like,” “like,” “like” say the stickers slapped on us, our bags, our seats, as we enter the theatre. “Hashtag OMG,” says one of the five performers as the rest wander about behind, speaking aloud their petty online dramas.

At a time when internet trolling on Twitter has been in the news again, Youth Music Theatre Scotland’s imaginative and award-winning exploration of anti-social networking and our online selves feels particularly pertinent. Through imaginatively directed and well-performed vignettes, it asks compelling albeit familiar questions. When does a backlash against internet bullying become bullying itself? What’s the point of ever more forms of communication when we use them not to form relationships but destroy them?

Created by and firmly aimed at teenagers, the final message – that we should live our online lives as we do our real ones and be “nicer” – is desirable but obvious. The piece works best when it uses humour or visuals to satirise attitudes and behaviour. The cast are an engaging bunch with lots to say.

Written for The Scotsman

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