When I was watching Queueue, I sometimes had absolutely no idea what was going on – and I loved every bit of it. Even before the play began, the cast made sure to create an inclusive, fun atmosphere. We were sat at the tables of Modern Art Café and each table had a cast member who happily chatted to the audience about the play, how it came to life, and what to expect, without actually spoiling any details of the story. This immersive element of the play was maintained, as even after lights went off, no formal stage was introduced – instead, the whole café was an acting space, and every audience member found themselves constantly surrounded by the amazingly talented cast.
Written by Leo Mercer and Stephen Hyde, Queueue is about a coffee shop of the same name. We follow the lives of four characters: a nosey barista Jazz (Ben Christopher), an ambitious entrepreneur Alice (Jemimah Taylor), a socially awkward hacker Cody (Charles Styles) and a dramatic YouTube “star” Zoe (Jess Bollands), who are regular visitors at Queueue. Their lives become intertwined when Alice’s computer gets hacked by Cody as she attempts to watch Zoe’s newest video – all of that in Jazz’s café. Through a series of comedic scenes (acted out by the remaining four members of the cast who were by no means less important), the play takes us on a journey through the Internet and all of its most popular shenanigans, including cat videos, Buzzfeed articles, and pop-up ads.
The play hilariously mocks the contemporary hipster culture of going to a café to work whilst sipping a soymilk latte, then inevitably ending procrastinating away the hours in a YouTube binge – something I’m sure the whole audience could relate to.
New writing can be tricky to pull off, and even more so when original music forms half of the piece. However, Mercer and Hyde absolutely stood up to the task of combining a funny plot with powerful, upbeat techno music – a truly impressive feat! Every song in the play was catchy and full of energy – I even found myself humming one of them when biking back home. Although the plot (which was generally creative and fun to follow) occasionally lacked some cohesion, the songs, and the simple yet visually-captivating choreography helped to glue it all together. Moreover, through clever manipulations of light and sound, the creative team behind Queueue managed to turn the unorthodox space of the café into a visceral virtual reality, and one which the audience could not help but feel truly a part of.
The creative venue, funny (and frighteningly relatable) plot, and amazing music make Queueue a must-watch this week! Or, in other words, 10/10 would recommend.