Losers offers a brutal examination of reality television, the lengths to which people are willing to go for fame and the things that TV audiences consider entertainment in a time where validation through social media seems to be the strongest form of currency.

The interactive production, which requires full audience participation, sees four hopeful drama school drop-outs competing against each other for the chance to win a spot in the ultimate reality show, which could boost them into instant fame. As the competitors display their talents in a series of hilarious contests, it is up to the audience – who are given voting handsets at the beginning of the show – to decide which of the desperate participants has won each round. The losers will face punishments increasing in severity and shock value. Towards the end, the disturbing punishments leave the audience feeling like they are trapped in a type of Milgram experiment.

The brilliance of this show is its ruthless presentation of reality TV celebrities. The actors are fantastic in their portrayals of the insecure and talentless people they satirise, presenting us with the shrill, vapid, attention hungry kind of people that are often drawn to this kind of stage. Even more brilliant is that those sitting on the stalls are also faced with some insight about themselves: for how long will you laugh at this type of human exploitation? How long can you keep watching without feeling guilty or partly responsible?

Losers is a fun and fresh act with no middle ground – you will either love or hate its characters. With hilarious satire and real violence, it is a show not to be taken lightly.

Words: Mariana Mercado

Losers, Underbelly Cowgate, Aug 15-27, 11.30pm

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