How do you buy drugs online? What was Silk Road? Could the libertarians on it actually be steering us towards a more humane drug policy? Or is a play about this dark-web marketplace glamourising drugs? What do you do with a bitcoin production donation? Who’s actually read Robert Louis Stevenson‘s Treasure Island?
Not the usual questions or answers at last night’s post-show Q&A that I chaired for Silk Road at Trafalgar Studios 2, with writer Alex Oates, director Dominic Shaw and star Josh Barrow. An American audience member said he’d turned his phone off and hadn’t shared anything about the play on social media as he worried the authorities might be watching. (I quipped that they’d only catch him on the way back in so he was safe for now – not sure he was reassured!)
Don’t worry, you won’t be nicked seeing this fantastic one-man play about a young Geordie lad’s short-lived online drug kingpin career – but it may be a crime if you don’t see Silk Road while you have the chance at Trafalgar Studios.
Shrapnel Theatre’s premiere production is here for a limited season after success at Edinburgh Fringe, Vaults Festival and the Live Theatre in Newcastle, near where the story is set, where both writer and star grew up and where they’ll return with the show in November. (Shall we all go and have a boogie at Mr Shaggy’s while we’re at it?) After that? Stand by for the television version… following the route of Phoebe Waller-Bridge‘s Fleabag.
What’s Silk Road all about? Bruce Blakemore (played by Josh Barrow) is a struggling young Geordie tech-head and the unlikeliest international criminal mastermind you can imagine. From his base in Whitley Bay, Bruce and his Nan find themselves sucked into an Underworld Wide Web of new-age pirates, local gangsters and tea-cosies. A pitch-black comedy for the Bitcoin generation inspired by interviews with real online drug vendors and a roller-coaster of characters and emotions, all played by one man.
We’re here at @TrafStudios. Pre-show tweet & I just met a couple of the show’s fans.
#FBLive should actually be via @SilkRoadThePlay show Facebook page. Why not just follow all anyway?! @ShrapnelTheatre @FunkSmuggler @dominicmshaw @joshbarrow96 pic.twitter.com/94k3ZgXrNS
— Terri Paddock (@TerriPaddock) August 13, 2018
Event photography by Peter Jones.