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‘Silk Road (How To Buy Drugs Online)’ review

  • Theatre, Drama
  • 3 out of 5 stars
  • Recommended

Time Out says

3 out of 5 stars

A witty cautionary tale about the dangers of the dark web (and knitted tea cosies)

Directed by Dominic Shaw, Alex Oates’s story of a teenager who gets sucked into the world of online drug-trading is the very first play to be (aptly) funded by Bitcoin investments.

It focuses on Bruce, an unlikely tech genius from Tyneside. Following heartbreak and a few seemingly ordinary misadventures, he finds himself at the centre of Whitley Bay’s underground drug ring after discovering the dark web. His incredibly likeable nan becomes the unwitting provider of a decoy product, her hand-knitted tea cosies, and even brings her friend Brenda on board to fulfil demand.

In this one-man show, Josh Barrow not only energetically plays Bruce, but his nan, Brenda and all of the other parts in the script. So well, in fact, you wonder if dissociative identity disorder had been written into his character. Sometimes that energy leaves the audience confused about who’s speaking or whether the scene is a flashback, but generally, it makes for a humorous and exhilarating ride through one man’s descent into illegal trading.

A distinct relatability to the characters and the situations they find themselves in reinforces the mission statement of the play from Shaw and Oates – to highlight the demonisation of young people who fall into the dark web’s trap. You leave Trafalgar Studios thinking one of two things – ‘that could have been me’ or ‘that could have been my son’.

Samantha Willis
Written by
Samantha Willis


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