The Nether is an enlightening look at a difficult topic

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The Nether is like the Internet, where people can shield themselves in a veil of anonymity and find a place that supports anything they want. It allows people to transform themselves into whatever they want to be, so they can indulge their basest fantasies – including child pornography and murder. But there are people who don’t agree with that opportunity, who want to put an end to such aspects of this system. And that’s where this play takes place.

It’s an easy add to my favourite plays list. Simply for the wonderful acting, but also for how they developed their investigation of technological advancements and the difference between reality and the virtual. Those ideas slowly came to fruition as the tension built and the audience was pulled into the hidden world of Papa and his children. They managed to easily switch between the austere interrogation room and the lush virtual realm simply with lighting changes and occasional small props, but it did the job perfectly. Occasionally, the lighting failed to impress as the shadows were too intense, but overall it created a mood fitting every scene.

Now a story about pedophilia probably doesn’t sound like a catch, but director Chris Lam handled the topic delicately. Insinuating enough to create sense, while never delving deep enough to shock. Julia Siedlanowska as one of the virtual children Iris is ethereal, capturing both youthful innocence and a depth of understanding. Doyle (Linden Banks) is equally impressive, and by the end had created some of the biggest emotional moments of the piece.

All in all, this is a must see. Tickets:  $24 (Adults) & $22 (Seniors) at firehallartscentre.ca or 604.689.0926

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