Three to a Room

By Beth Berry,2014-06-16 19:59
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Three to a Room ...

    Three to a Room’s I Love You, Bro Reviews

    Current as at January 2009

For press enquiries, please contact Charlotte Strantzen


    Phone: 0417 303 404

Edinburgh Fringe 2008. Ruth Johnston, Three Weeks (20th August, 2008)

Incorporating text speak, Ash Flanders' Johnny tells the story of how he got caught in a fatalistic

    web of deceit, his brilliantly written words deeply uncomfortable as they explore forbidden desire,

    obsession and hatred. Based in the hermetically sealed world of Internet chat-rooms, this moving

    tale of unrequited love and loneliness delivers a subtle yet powerful warning against modern

    communications: Once in the ether, words can not only become manipulated, but also

    meaningless. Flanders is mesmerising, giving an almost hypnotic performance that lends 'I Love

    You, Bro' a lyrical quality. His nervy, yet assured, pulsating and visceral delivery had me hanging

    on Johnny's every word, and it is by far and away the best acting I have seen so far this festival.

Edinburgh Fringe 2008. Jodie Fleming, Scotsgay (15th August, 2008)

This is the true story of a 14 year old boy who discovers his sexuality in an internet chat-room. As

    he indulges in on-line chat with one of his town's footie players, he finds himself mistaken for a

    female and makes the decision not to correct the mistake. The relationship escalates to one-

    sided cyber cam sex, and before Johnny knows it he finds himself inextricably drawn into a full-

    blown and dangerous infatuation.

It's the performance by Ash Flanders which brings this show to the heights of greatness. I can't

    imagine any other actor who would play the part of Johnny better than Flanders, who adopts the

    increasingly unhinged persona perfectly. His performance is convincing, emotive and sparklingly

    brilliant as he transports the audience into Johnny's head as he experiences the full spectrum of

    emotions this young lad undergoes in the lead-up to the planning of his own death.

Edinburgh Fringe 2008. Oliver Farrimond, Festmag (13th August, 2008)

Based on real events in Greater Manchester in 2003, I Love You Bro is a dark, disquieting tale of

    sexual fixation and the enormous power of the internet as a tool of deception. The story was

    originally brought to light in a Vanity Fair article, and this year's Fringe adaptation represents only a

    small part of the true events which astonished police officers and judges.

Told in panted monologue and with an omnipresent grin, the talented Ash Flanders delivers a

    script couched in chat-room neologisms with a morbid vigour that suggests bigger things to come

    for the young actor. A projected pastel backdrop that shifts as the tale unfolds does much to

    effectively conjure the malleable online world that Johnny inhabits. The portentous air of

    foreboding is intensified by frequent allusions to Romeo and Juliet, with snapshots of a hellish

    domestic life permitting glimpses of a human dimension to the protagonist's warped mind. The

    brief moments of tittered relief are, more truthfully, valves for nervous tension as the play becomes

    increasingly macabre and Johnny's deceit plumbs new depths of manipulation and sadism.

As the narrative unfolds and Johnny begins to flirt with a psychosis beyond erotic obsession, fictive

    personas are killed off and his victim becomes embroiled in a finale so horribly ruinous that the

    audience leaves the theatre stupefied and mute. A fervent production from the deservedly lauded

    Three To A Room theatre company, this is powerful, gripping theatre at its best.

    ABN: 21 197 300 729 Mail: Unit 3, 6 Cedar Crt Swan Hill VIC 3585 Web: Email:

    Three to a Room’s I Love You, Bro Reviews

    Current as at January 2009

Edinburgh Fringe 2008. David Mountford, Fringe Review (6th August, 2008)

Wow. Strap yourself in for this one. It's a white knuckle ride into the (true) dark side of teenage

    web chat fantasy, played with terrific, feral intensity by the alarmingly talented Ash

    Flanders. This dark, claustrophobic and almost unbearably tense hour is written by Adam

    Cass. It started life as a film script, based on the true story of a teenage boy from a small town

    near Manchester in 2003 becoming embroiled in an online love affair, which ended in him

    manipulating and deceiving the object of his online affection into trying to murder him.

This monologue is a revelation; for those of us old and stupid enough to have never really

    bothered with the chatroom phenomenon (this reviewer doesn't even belong to facebook), it is a

    fascinating look at the subculture and terminology of chatrooms, and is a convincing expose of the

    dangers to be found therein, especially for confused, emotionally disturbed teenagers. The

    quality of the writing is first class, and driven with a kind of urgent, obsessive vernacular

    that quickly fleshes out the subject, Johnny, before plunging us headlong into his vortex of online

    love, and the furious invention of shifting identities and events that he uses to ensnare

    his unwitting, credulous lover.

The audience, too, is manipulated, swung between sympathy for Johnny's desperate

    love, and disgust at the length s to which he will go to deceive Mark, the football playing golden

    boy who arouses his passions. The staging is spare, with computer generated backdrops playing

    over Johnny's face or framing his lithe, awkward body as it twists in the rising agony of his

    despair, becoming slowly trapped in the arabesques of his plotting and obsession.

A real psychological thriller, Flanders and Cass together create the online characters real and

    imagined so well that, like Johnny, the audience starts to forget that there is only one person

    there. A monologue, yet truly an utterly successful, vital piece of true theatre. Go see.