Writer and director Tom Nicholas from the New Model Theatre brings his coming of age drama in the age of digital to the Manchester Fringe festival. A single-hander intersected with verbatim new reports, Static shows the impact twenty–four hour news can have on one boy's life.
Boy (we never learn his name) is obsessed with news programmes. Paxman and Snow are his heroes and one of the greatest moments of his life is when his father decides to ‘go digital'. We see Boy's transformation from an ant killing child, to a student protestor against the background of television news as 9/11 and 7/7 seep into the everyday.
The first half of the play is achingly self-conscious and Hugh McCann as Boy doesn't quite avoid talking at the audience as he gets his message across. It is also hard to match the loner he claims to be with the bag of energy bouncing about on stage and some of the examples of his childhood daydreams sit strangely with the person he becomes.
The second half of the play really picks up and there are some really funny lines. Nicholas excels at the everyday observations. When the Boy travels on the train to the student protests in London, he sits next to a posh student who likens the event to a festival and seems to have a limited grasp on what he's protesting about. McCann, also comes into his own and just at the end you start to really lose yourself in the drama as he describes being part of a group of people breaking into the Tory HQ.
Because it takes so long to pick up, when Static finishes it seems to end prematurely. The concept of an avid news fan suddenly becoming part of the news is a really interesting one, and if that idea had been expanded to a full conclusion the entire play would have been really engaging.