Review: User Not Found at the Traverse @ Jeelie Piece Café
4★★★★

Theatre and technology mesh in this site-specific drama by Chris Goode about love, loss and letting go.

The charming Terry, played with warmth and a deep sense of sadness by Terry O’Donovan, circles our tables in the Jeelie Piece café as we stare down at the provided smartphones in distracted sympathy.

Terry’s ex-partner, Luka, has died suddenly, and left Terry to be his online executor. An app called Fidelis offers complete control over all a person’s online activity, their legacy in modern terms, and Terry has to decide what to delete and what to keep.





Anyone who has been met with the extraordinary emotional burden of sorting out somebody’s belongings after a bereavement will recognise Terry’s struggle – should I keep this or that, this teapot that they loved but I don’t have anywhere to put, this pair of socks that they wore in bed when the weather was cold? And sooner or later, like a Facebook feed, you’re left with a great pile of stuff that doesn’t mean much individually but adds up to a glimmer, a reflection on the cave wall, of the person who is gone. Perhaps it’s better to start clean, throw everything out so you don’t have the pain of looking at it. Perhaps you’re protecting them. Perhaps you’re protecting yourself.

It is an almost universal experience, and Terry’s emotions – confusion, grieving and anger, are very easy to understand, aided by O’Donovan’s raw but inclusive performance. The audience is left with a haunting sadness and questions about their own legacy and what happens next.  It is exciting to see theatre that is willing to ask the big questions on such a human scale.

User Not Found, Traverse @ Jeelie Piece Café, 3-26 Aug, 8pm

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