Flavour Text at Chronic Insanity Online
The Internet is a big and, at times, scary place but also the greatest tool for uncovering facts and falling down conspiracy rabbit holes. Theatre company Chronic Insanity bring a truly innovative spin to a classic mystery plot in their latest production, Flavour Text, a thrilling online treasure hunt for the truth. Theatre is combined with an almost video game-like experience as viewers take on the role of online sleuths, pursuing web pages to uncover the production’s story. With its impressive attention to detail, vast amount of content and ability to craft a feeling of unease, Flavour Text produces one of the most immersive digital performances yet.
The production is a singular experience, where participants control the speed and flow entirely. Drawing on inspiration from real-life Internet sleuth communities, such as those who covered and created conspiracies around the famous Hotel Cecil/Elisa Lam case, Chronic Insanity craft a journey where viewers fully embody the role of digital investigators. Flavour Text begins with the disappearance of a restaurant owner. The audience tries to piece together the missing person’s case through exploring web pages, links and even accessing someone’s email; however, they soon realise that something more nefarious is at work. Cue references to the Dark Web, secret organisations and full-blown paranoia that someone is tracking and watching, as the plot slowly builds and creates a fully emotive and tense experience.
Written by Megan Gates, Charlotte Holder, Ruth Mestle, Harry Smith and Sophie Whitebrook, the plot is simple but packed with popular Internet references; it expertly propels a sense of dread as viewers dive deeper and deeper. However, there is almost an unfinished quality to the narrative as the conclusion is rushed, leaving participants wanting to investigate further. That being said, the design, scope and intricacy throughout is impressive and has the potential to lead its audiences on multiple storyline tangents for hours. Each new webpage is packed with things to look at, pushing a sense of online realism, while letting viewers examine every digital nook and cranny of the case.
Overall, Flavour Text is one of the most engaging digital performances to be had and the ideal remote experience. The level of detail, innovation and fun goes beyond expectation and stands as a perfect example of exceptional online participatory theatre.
Flavour Text is available to stream from 29th March until 31st December 2021. For further information or to book visit Chronic Insanity’s website here.