‘Beep’ is set in the near future where a new government law means all adult men must have a lie-detecting chip implanted into their arm to prevent the patriarchy from getting away with all their crimes. Six friends have their relationships quickly unravel as a result of the new implant, however the interesting concept is unfortunately half baked.
The cast are talented and entertaining, with believable chemistry between them. However, the show’s run time is too short to allow them to expand on their characters or their story fully, or to any satisfactory degree. With some further workshopping and a longer run this show could be developed into a Black Mirror-esque commentary on the nature of truth and the price of honesty, as well as possibly interrogate some interesting themes of gender. For example one of my first questions was how ‘men’ are even identified; if the implant is exclusively administered to people who were assigned male at birth, or if transgender people using masculine pronouns are also required by law to take part in the program. However, the show uses its concept to give an uninteresting plot unnecessary tension: Rose has cheated on her boyfriend with his best friend, and now the truth has no choice but to come out. With the distinctly political nature of the set-up and the idea of the implant itself, I was expecting a more politically charged and topical story, not couples bickering.
However, the production of the performance is smooth with slick scene transitions and interesting movement scenes. The strobe lighting warning must be acknowledged seriously as, even although I do not suffer from any severe photosensitivity issues, the scenes towards the end did cause me to become nauseous due to the over-use of flashing lights.
Somewhat afraid to fully dive into the meat of its own world-building, ‘Beep’ needs to embrace the risks its concept provides. The cast are engaging and could undoubtedly do great things with a longer run time, as the abrupt conclusion it provides is predictable and several characters are underutilised.
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