Review Round Up!

Silk Road The play was really fortunate to receive some lovely reviews. We had 6 five star reviews and 2 four stars! Some reviews don’t do stars so to read what the critics said about the play you need look no further than below!

A Younger Theatre – “Silk Road certainly has a lot going for it”

The Scotsman – “ Oates writes with lively poetic flourishes and a good comic ear, and in actor James Baxter, he has a warm and endearing interpreter”

Broadway Baby – “ this is a fascinating, bittersweet story. Through the vivid personal experience of Bruce Blakemore, the faceless Silk Road is humanised,”

Three Weeks – “Like a hybrid of ‘Snatch’ and ‘Starter for Ten’, this is both an adolescent adventure and a grotesque, criminal caper. Gritty and very well written by Old Vic New Voices playwright Alex Oates, ‘Silk Road’ is the best thing to come from its namesake”

Quotidian Times – “A veritable tour de force, Baxter gives what must surely be a major contender for best performance of the Fringe 2014. His performance is electric, compelling and palpable, never letting up or losing your attention once throughout.

Alex Oates has provided Baxter an excellent script to work with: imaginative, well constructed combined with well thought out and provocative dialogue. The setting is minimal but this only adds to the plethora of talent and energy seething from the stage.

I would recommend this show to anyone and in a year when I have yet to see a disappointing piece of drama and the standards are high ‘Silk Road’ and Baxter are the best yet by quite some way.”

Postscript Journal – “Alex Oates has created something very modern with this play, which allows the dialectical dialogue to press occasionally into the poetic with the delicacy of Jim Cartwright or Dylan Thomas. As well as being extremely funny, the text is perfectly balanced, with cleverly woven recurring motifs that draw the whole thing together in satisfying unity.

Despite being a play about an abstract online space, Silk Road is a completely human story, light on the jargon and heavy on the heart-strings. The show is elegant and well-composed, but with an honest, unpretentious charm, and is an absolute must-see for this festival.

James Baxter is an enormously talented performer, and plays Bruce with cheeky likeability, masterfully handling the character’s narrative responsibilities. His comic timing is perfect, and his precise and specific performance makes each different character in the story instantly recognisable.”

The New Current – “Playwright Alex Oates has made ’Silk Road’ exciting and accessible allowing the audience to connect to ‘Blakemore’s story while keep an open mind.”

The Public Reviews – “He relates his story to the audience like they are his best friend and they are, because he enthrals, entertains and holds them. This is new writing at its best, well-staged and brilliantly acted, if only more festival shows were like this.”

Fringe Guru – “It’s a long time since I have been quite so enthralled by a piece of theatre. This is theatre at its very best. The writing by Alex Oates is smart, humorous and in places powerfully touching, and it truly was so good that I would cheerfully click the refresh button and start watching it all over again. If you are looking for a powerful and entertaining play this Fringe, then search no further.”

Festival Journal – “The story struck the perfect balance between humour and tragedy. Relationships, stereotypes, and tropes are all played for laughs, whilst difficulty, unfairness, cruelness, and absurdity are all treated with genuine pathos and humanity.”

Broadway World – “Baxter is skilled with adopting the mannerisms of each character and he really gave a fantastic performance.”

Edinburgh Evening News – “James Baxter is a treat to watch”

 

 

Great Reviews!

So we are almost half way through our Edinburgh experience and some reviews have started coming in! Check them out!

***** – Quotidian Times

“A veritable tour de force, Baxter gives what must surely be a major contender for best performance of the Fringe 2014. … I would recommend this show to anyone and in a year when I have yet to see a disappointing piece of drama and the standards are high ‘Silk Road’ and Baxter are the best yet by quite some way.”

***** – The Public Reviews

“Baxter relates his story to the audience like they are his best friend and they are, because he enthrals, entertains and holds them. This is new writing at its best, well-staged and brilliantly acted, if only more festival shows were like this.”

**** - Broadway Baby

“James Baxter gives several nuanced performances under Dominic Shaw’s direction, bringing alive the wide-eyed Bruce and his shuffling, lisping Nan alongside a group of fleshed-out and hilarious minor characters.”

Rehearsal update! 2 days to go!

Rehearsals are going swimmingly for Silk Road, today we were fortunate enough to have movement director Gareth Taylor in the room.

Gareth is an associate artist of the Fringe First award winning  ‘ Curious Directive’ theatre company and has worked wonders on the physical score for Silk Road with actor James Baxter.

Gareth Taylor

Gareth Taylor

Great interview with writer, Alex Oates

There’s a lovely article about us on The Daily Dot about us, for those too lazy to click here, here it is…

By Tom Harrington on July 21, 2014

The seedy world of the Deep Web is bleeding into the realm of art.

U.K.-based playwright Alex Oates is staging a one-man show based on the story of Silk Road, the online black market for drugs and other contraband that was shut down last year by the FBI.

Just the thought of a dramatic recreation of an Internet community might bring an unwelcome shudder as memories of Hackers and The Net come rushing back—memories where “hacking” took the form of some sort of 3D Tron-esque computer game and the limits of the ‘Net’s future utility is the buying of pizza.

So there’s good reason to be skeptical of Oates’s Silk Road, right? Maybe not.

“It’s something that’s difficult to blag,” Oates tells the Daily Dot. “Those awful, cringe-inducing hacker tropes were prevalent because they were just tasking middle-aged screenwriters to try and do something ‘current’ without really getting to grips with the technology or interacting with the communities.”

Oates says that he, along with other young artists, actually understand how to translate the drama of the Internet world for the stage. For example, Oates mentions Enda Walsh’s Chatroom as the play “that made me realise it is possible to do tech on stage without having a bunch of people wiggling their fingers air-typing on imaginary keyboards.”

Oates’s Silk Road is inspired by interviews and interactions with anonymous users and vendors on Silk Road’s forums. It follows Bruce Blakemore, “a struggling young tech-head” from Newcastle in the United Kingdom, who, along with his grandmother, are drawn into an “Underworld Wide Web of new-age pirates and local gangsters.”

As a plot, it is not as far-fetched as it may sound. “These aren’t simply jejune junkies who just happen to know their way around a computer. Debate about international and national drug policy is in depth and well informed,” says Oates. “There are also a lot of discussions surrounding libertarian ideals and global economic and socio-political systems.

“The revolution may not be televised, but I’m wondering if it might be streamed.”

Oates is not the first to see the dramatic possibilities in the Silk Road takedown. Last October, 20th Century Fox licensed the rights to a Wired article by journalist Joshua Davis, which told the story of the site’s seizure by the FBI and the arrest of alleged Silk Road mastermind Ross William Ulbricht.

In Oates’s version, Silk Road is portrayed in a positive light in his play, he says, both as a technological acheivement and as a refutation of the worldwide War on Drugs.

“We explain the site and how it works in a down-to-earth and passionate fashion because, frankly, it is a pretty exciting development in technology,” he says. “People clinging to the concept of the War on Drugs may find it difficult that the play upholds it as a potentially safer and generally better alternative to street drug dealing.”

Not only is Silk Road one of the first theatrical productions to tackle the world of the Deep Web, it’s also one of the first—if not the first—to accept the Internet’s favorite form of payment: Bitcoin.

“I created a new account on Silk Road 2.0 forums telling them all about the play. One of the most well-established vendors sent me a private message saying that once they could ascertain that the play was for real they’d donate to our cause,” says Oates. “I launched the appeal for bitcoins on our website and immediately we received the donation.”

While Oates is accepting Bitcoin donations through the Silk Road website, the two bitcoins he received after chatting with a Silk Road vendor didn’t actually go toward the production itself.

“Because taking a play to Edinburgh is so expensive, and because so much of that cost has to be shouldered by the team and paid upfront, we sold them straight away to pay for the deposit on our flat for the month.

“We sold them for £600, they would currently get us about £740 and are predicted to be worth £2000 by the end of the year. So I’m a bit gutted.”

Silk Road premieres in August at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, after a preview in London on July 27.

Photo via Antti T. Nissinen/Flickr (CC BY 2.0) | Remix by Jason Reed

Week 2 of Rehearsals

Week 2 is underway for Silk Road the play at Assembly Venues Edinburgh and everything is going to plan so far. James Baxter who plays Bruce is having a blast finding his way into the piece and exploring different physicalities for all the characters. Can’t wait for you to see it!image

Don’t forget we still have a few tickets left for the preview at The New Diorama on July 27th.

A massive thank you!

We hit our Kickstarter campaign target! Thanks so much to everyone who donated and helped us make sure that this play can happen. Nobody likes asking for money and we all felt a bit awkward about it so we are eternally grateful that friends, family, dominatrix’s and total strangers rallied around us to help out!

It will all be worth it in August!

Thanks again!

Alex