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Bloody Influencers

by on 12 February 2023

Insta-Grammar Lessons

Bloody Influencers

by Ena Begovic and Ben Mansbridge

East London Theatre Collective at the Barons Court Theatre until 11th February

Review by Denis Valentine

Bloody Influencers, a debut piece written by its performer Ena Begovic with Ben Mansbridge, takes a timely look into the highs, lows and a host of things in between of the current allure of the social media influencer lifestyle.

The show starts before the show starts with Daisy (Ena) pulling audience members on stage for selfies and Instagram story uploads; known tropes of the social media generations.  From the opening moments of the curtain officially coming up, it is clear that the audience is going to be taken on the journey by a character fully immersed at the deep end of the social media top end.

Much commendation should be given to Ena whose constant energy throughout the fifty minutes carry the show and the audience through the ups and downs of the influencer world.  Thematically it’s interesting getting the story from the perspective of Daisy, as even right at the start the character admits that her real name is actually Lucija, which indicates a level of unreliability from the off.

The scatter-brained nature of the character allows the odd moment of slips in the performance to be forgiven and in some ways add to the almost immersive feel that her performance gives.

For the first third of the play, proceedings seem quite light-hearted and fun, but as events go on, the darker nature of what lies under the surface begins to manifest itself.  It’s telling that when Daisy first likens her life to that of a drug addict, there were a few laughs from the audience, but as the play goes on it becomes clear that people are watching a genuine addict who is dealing with a dangerous addiction that could wreck and destroy her life in the most severe way.

The dialogue from Ena comes at a relentless pace and, as mentioned, she has a great, watchable energy throughout.  Sofia Zaragoza’s direction channels her performer’s energy well and for the most part keeps things running along smoothly.  The play, as a first-time writing piece, at times can be a little clunky in places and there are certain gaps in its coherence.  The occasional breaks in play for a Tik-Tok dance or other social media activity for the most part work well, but at times can come off as a little contrived, which lessen their impact.  There is good use of a video screen at one point to tell the story of Daisy and her boyfriend Neil and maybe as the show develops a few more innovate pieces like this would work well.

For a debut piece and first time performing Bloody Influencers is a very good effort from all involved and the production offers its team a great starting platform to advance from.  For those wondering about the life and styles of the social media generation it offers some good answers … but also plenty of questions.

Denis Valentine, February 2023

Photography courtesy of ELTC

Rating: 3.5 out of 5.
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