Silk Road (How To Buy Drugs Online), Trafalgar Studios | Review

Silk Road 
Trafalgar Studios
Reviewed on Tuesday 7th August 2018 by Shaun Dicks

Technology. Drugs. The Silk Road. We find ourselves in an age where reliance is at an all-time high. What do we rely on? Things to change the reality of our situation. Technology, where we can hide who we really are behind a cyber persona that we create. Drugs, to take us to an altered reality so that our actual reality is suspended. Silk Road follows a young man, one that believes that there is more to be learnt than what you are told. A young man that starts as a drug user but becomes a dealer. He discovers the Silk Road and learns more than he bargains for, taking him through a line of events that shows you a world you wouldn’t believe unless you saw. 

The show is led by Josh Barrow who plays Bruce, who is chaotic, immature but charmingly endearing. He has a beautiful love for his Nan (as we all do) and is a lad who just wants to belong and feel love. Barrow is an interesting performer, as he presented a nice balance of light and shade in his role. 

Barrow stumbled a few times throughout the show, I would attribute that to nerves of a young performer. But the multi-rolling that he does is impeccable. The timing of jokes in various characters were great and gave quite a few hearty belly laughs. But he also counterbalanced the humour with moments of severe seriousness when required. What really impressed were the moments of tenderness. These were very endearing moments, humanising Bruce, making him the young lad that he was. 

With addressing such a volatile subject like drugs, the storytelling was bashful, unapologetic and frank. Alex Oates does a terrific job in delivering a compact, effective and stellar one hour script. The through line tells a complete, complex and interesting story, culminating in an ending that is foreshadowed but has an interesting surprise for the audience. 

Silk Road isn’t the best one person show I’ve ever seen, but it isn’t the worst. It’s an interesting take on a taboo subject, presented in very real circumstances. It brings up a conversation worth having and certainly feeds your curiosity. It’s well constructed and equally well presented. The show is a little different, which is a good thing. We all need something different occasionally. Follow the Silk Road to an altered reality so you don’t have to face yours for an hour. 

Silk Road runs at Trafalgar Studios until

photo credit: Nick Rutter

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