Venue: Paradise in the Vault
Star rating: ***
Reviewer: Joanne Kilday
Souvenirs presents the real stories of four young people in London who have been involved in cases of harassment and stalking. When does passion become obsession and what is the mental toll on those involved?
UCL Runaround brings us a show that highlights the issue of stalking and harassment with a play full of heartbreaking stories and a little dark humor. It tells 4 very different stories from a woman stalked by an ex boyfriend to a young student who becomes obsessed with one of her lecturers at university. The play shows not only the toll the issue takes on the victims but also shows it from the perpetrators perspective as well.
I did really enjoy the show, it was interesting and really well acted. I liked the use of voice-overs to allow the audience to hear phone notifications, voicemail messages and some texts. I also enjoyed the use of the papers on set, with each actor picking them up and then using them as part of their own individual stories. Throughout the show the actors were talking to the audience as if there was someone behind them (or they were that someone) asking questions or having a conversation with them. I did like this aspect, however at times I would have liked to have known exactly what that person was saying to get a full picture of the conversation.
The show highlighted the issue of online stalking on social media such as Facebook and Tinder with one of the stories solely focused on a young man who was harrassed and stalked via these platforms, it really brought to light how easy it is for someone to find out a lot of information about you from what you share online. It also highlighted the issue of gaslighting and the effects it has on a victim, making them believe it is all in their head and the psychological toll.
One of the stories, around a young student becoming obsessed with a university professor really did make me think. I actually felt really sorry for the young girl who in the play is only 18, the fact that she was the one who was treated as the perpetrator was actually something I didn’t agree with, and maybe that was the point. Her professor was in a position of authority and should have tried to explain to her that he didn’t feel the same way straight away, but it seemed as though he had led her on, which didn’t sit right with me.
All in all it was a really interesting show, and highlighted just how serious an issue stalking and harassment is, but also how complex and sometimes not always black and white it can be.