Chronic Insanity: There’s Something Among Us
There’s Something Among Us is one of three digital shows that Nottingham-based theatre company Chronic Insanity have announced, opening February to May. The show uses the Innersloth game Among Us as a dramatic fulcrum to reveal the secrets held by a group of Gen-Z flatmates.
In the play, VeeChosen1 (Victor Itang) has gathered his five flatmates and a new social media presence Fifi (Lily Bailes) to play the online social sleuth game. As each round is played, audiences can choose which character feed they follow. After the first round, it is revealed that Fifi is to replace former flatmate Sam. Each subsequent round gives rise to newer and more dramatic revelations based around the inner intrigues in the circle of friends. However, neither the game nor the developing revelations it is supposed to instigate are as dramatically absorbing as they could be.
It feels like the primary reason for this is down to the structure of the play, rather than its innovative form. The superficial portrayal of the characters makes the developing narrative largely unconvincing. To add to this, the dialogue feels impeded by being improvised. It means that, on quite a few occasions, actors stumble over lines, speak over one another or struggle to say anything interesting. The latter is particularly apparent in some of the feeds when the rounds of Among Us are played. However, viewers fortunate to follow Lulu (Kate Spencer), are in luck. Spencer is, without doubt, the strongest of the performers and her comic delivery is the saving grace of the show.
The largely improvised form of dialogue, though, means most revelations appear to be crudely dropped in without any careful attention to building them up. Furthermore, the arguments that precipitate them are all played on the same unsubtle, unconvincingly melodramatic level. As this same outcome occurs after every round, the play becomes leaden and highlights the need for more plausibility and tighter construction.
There is no doubt that Chronic Insanity are on to something with their philosophy of theatrically embracing the digital worlds our modern lives intertwine with. It just fails to realise itself effectively through the concept of this show. It could very well work with other productions they have planned – audiences will have to wait and see.
There’s Something Among Us is available to stream from 26th April until 31st December 2021. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.