Yesterday I was lucky enough to get £10 Tickets to see The Nether at the Royal Court. This is the first time I’ve tried the £10 Mondays, the Royal Court’s great scheme where all Monday tickets are released online the morning of the performance. I am happy to say that it was a pretty fuss free experience, with plenty of tickets available. I also found out that there is a limited number of standing tickets for each performance for the most ridiculous price of 10p! Basically free seats! These are only available for sold out shows, but nice to bear in mind for the future.
We had a really nice dinner at the theatre prior to the performance, I do appreciate a theatre restaurant, and the Royal Court’s basement bar is one of my favourites. Very reasonable prices and a decent choice of dishes, including a number of vegetarian options.
Now onto the play itself, I feel like I am stalling, because I am not quite sure what I thought of it or how to word it. It’s a disturbing and uncomfortable play and a lot is packed into the hour twenty minutes of its running time. The Nether is set in the future, in a world where adults don’t remember real trees and most people spend their time immersed in a virtual reality, called the Nether. As everything has moved towards this virtual world, from education to entertainment, some people choose to ‘cross over’ permanently. It’s a fascinating world that I would have loved to learn more about, but really the story doesn’t delve into the world building any more than it’s necessary to tell its tale.
As the world has shifted towards this virtual reality, serious questions are raised about morality in a world with no physical consequences. Is it child abuse, where no actual children are involved? Is it murder when it’s followed by a resurrection? It’s a compelling question and all too applicable to the the present day.
The story revolves around a cop who is investigating the practices of a realm within the nether, called the Hideaway, where anonymous guests can indulge their darkest perversions. It’s a chilling tale with a few genuine surprises and the set design is beautiful, as it made the virtual world come alive in front of us. Not exactly a subtle play, but one that will stay with me for a while.