Pulse Fringe: Myspace the Musical

If there's a defining 21st Century social activity, especially among young people, it's communicating via networking websites. Well over a hundred million people chat and keep in touch with friends on MySpace, millions more on Facebook, and there are dozens of such sites.

MySpace - The Musical, Pulse Fringe Festival, New Wolsey Studio, Ipswich (June 5 and 6)

If there's a defining 21st Century social activity, especially among young people, it's communicating via networking websites. Well over a hundred million people chat and keep in touch with friends on MySpace, millions more on Facebook, and there are dozens of such sites. This show at the New Wolsey Studio is a clever spoof satire on the phenomenon done as a Raymond Chandler murder story.

It's a two-hander with Will Barlow parodying Phil Marlow, the downbeat but moral American private eye who's very much into broads and getting bashed up. He's called in to investigate the murder of a journalist working on some damning exposé. The only clue is a piece of paper with MySpace written on it.

Will Barlow and his fellow performer, Sam Cox then whisk us round a crazy cartoon world of wigs, beards, high heel shoes and silly hats. It's peopled by the Australian magnate Rupert Murdoch who owns Fox News which in turn owns MySpace. Another character is Sir Alan Sugar, depicted as Murdoch's craven admirer and the singer songwriter, Lily Allen, whose rise to fame owed much to her putting herself and her work on Myspace.

Murdoch wears a crown to show he's king of everything, his media empire telling people what to do, eat, where to go on holiday and what to think. His only quibble with MySpace is whether it makes him enough money.

There's a green robot monster, a munching, less than benign Metal Mickey figure - MySpace itself perhaps - who gobbles everything up including, in the end the lone saxophonist Alex Lamont.

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He's on the set playing before the show starts, accompanies the song and dance numbers and lends a poignant note throughout to the off-the-wall storyline.

This is an exuberant and funny Fringe show, throwing its spears at plenty of targets. You can guess where Wicked Sharp Productions got its widest mention of the show. It was on MySpace and Facebook.

Ivan Howlett

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