In an age of increasingly unlikely tech start-ups and internet innovations, where a video of a laughing baby can reach over a million hits, we all like to dream of the moment that our creation goes viral. This is the interesting and often funny basis of The Social Notwork, a show focusing on three recently made redundant northern women.
We meet Karen (Ruth Keeling), Mel (Shereen Roushbaiani) and Marie (Abigail Halley) at the funeral of Suze, a friend fallen victim to her desire for a social media hit. As the friends wryly observe, being done in by a skateboarding Staffie wearing deely-boppers is no way to go. We witness the three women struggling to make ends meet on their redundancy packets, a depressing reality for so many in the UK at the moment, and it takes a big idea of Karen’s to lead the women into attempting their own ‘takeover of the internet’. Utilising the camera skills of Marie and the social media obsession of Mel, the trio set out to form ‘3 Daft Cows and a Cameraphone’, establishing themselves on ‘Daft Moo Tube’.
Ruth Keeling as Karen gets most of the laughs, her character as a downbeat realist nicely contrasting with her sudden brainwave moments of increasingly bizarre ways to end the money worries. The trio bounce off each other well, but there are moments when lines are fluffed and at times it feels like the cast are merely going through the motions. This was most evident when the women attend a ‘Start Up Conference’, getting tips from Malcolm Jeffries as Ken, a washed up wannabe life coach. Here the show descends into some predictable comedy moments, as the women trade panic attacks and cause the lecturer to have a breakdown. The scene feels drawn out and overly long, an issue that also occurs when the women are trapped in a tree following an attempted ‘Moo Tube’ filming. However, the audience are presented with a happy ending as the first video of the trio goes viral, Karen suffering the indignation of her knickers becoming national news. Whilst amusing, it is a trifle idealistic that success comes so quickly.
A highlight of the show was the three friends at Suze’s funeral wake; debating her untimely demise whilst inhaling sausage rolls and Mel snapchatting the entire event. The irony of the scene is nicely portrayed, and the cast perfectly execute the awkwardness of attending a wake whilst quietly disparaging the victim. However, the show really loses pace in its scene changes, seemingly never ending blackouts accompanied by increasingly irritating jingle tunes. They quite literally take forever, and as the set is so sparse, there’s no excuse. Overall, an entertaining evening but one that would benefit from a script tightening and slicker scene changes.
La Gíngy Strollér