Traverse is presenting a festival programme of the decade this Fringe 2018 and the piece of theatre by site-specific company Dante or Die is no exception. This world premiere written by Chris Goode and performed in the Jeelie Piece cafe will encourage its audience to re-evaluate how they approach strangers and also leave with a thousand thoughts.
Putting on the headphones on the table in front of us, the audience is transported into the mind of Terry. Terry, played by Terry O’Donovan, is a charming, perceptive, funny individual who has just received some horrible news – an old beau, a very significant old beau, has just died. Terry doesn’t want to receive this news, and he certainly doesn’t want to receive the next piece of news – he’s responsible for Luke’s digital legacy.
Terry talks us through characters in the cafe forcing the audience to contemplate the lives of our fellow cafe-goers. The decision to site the production in the cafe is not a meaningless one making Terry’s situation spring vividly in front of us. The hustle and bustle of the cafe waitress busying herself with cups of tea brings a delightful reality to the show and really helps focus the audience’s attention. There is something thrilling about listening to Terry through the speakers and knowing everyone is hearing the same thing but also being unsure about what you’d hear if you took the headphones off. It made you feel both isolated and included in a conundrum of emotions. The story was so simple yet so thought-provoking, you could have just been being told the story of Terry and Luke yet the questions Terry posited were designed to make you think of your own story and how you deal with things.
Touchingly dealing with grief in a modern age and how we confront our feelings for those who have gone, User Not Found is a fantastic piece of site-specific theatre and a wonderful addition to the Fringe programme. A warming emotive performance by Goode brings tears to the audience’s eyes as we embark on his own personal story of grief.