A woman’s interest in a cheating couple she sees on her train almost on a daily basis takes a drastic turn when her involvement exposes her brutal childhood and aversion to doing good. Little by little, The Woman (Zoe Cunningham) is revealed to be a cold-blooded sociopath with an obsession with social media and her audience suddenly become the enablers of her actions.
The likes on the morbid photos she shares fuel her addiction in Andrew Bruce-Lockhart’s Letting Go, introducing compelling satire that strays from the borders of black comedy. The script is snappy and titillating, with brief scenes acting like a diary of sorts. She analyses the changes in the behaviours of the cheating couple (or CC, for her online followers) and explains how the chilling events in her youth have shaped her.
Cunningham is soft and cheery in the candid descriptions of her killings. She turns her character’s lack of empathy and the public’s modern numbness to violence into an exploration of human curiosity. Bruce-Lockhart knowingly leaves out the implications of her acts and their slight implausibility to tackle bigger concerns relating to the levels of accessibility to people’s lives.
The play never forgets it’s a comedy and replays the incidents for laughs, mainly thanks to the actress’s comedic timing. Helen Rose Hampton and CMJ Taylor are now the couple, now the array of characters who unfortunately cross paths with The Woman. The trio are amusing but lack a tad of sophistication in their delivery.
All in all, Bruce-Lockhart’s play is a comical take on the perils of social media and the consistent dehumanisation of their users. He deploys a sharp social critique that, however, perhaps needs to be explored more in order to land solidly in a lasting analysis and accept its own potential instead of being too much of a weird, humourous version of The Girl on the Train. It is, however, impossible to deny that it’s a very funny play.
Letting Go runs at the Hen and Chickens Theatre until 17 August as part of Camden Fringe.