The Conservative Party was in town this week, though you probably haven’t noticed.
There was only a few thousand policemen, bollards, helicopters, tracker dogs and bomb disposal squads on Broad Street, after all.
The security doesn’t just protect the Tories from nefarious fiends who would do them harm.
It also seals them inside a bubble of pontification and policy, disconnecting them from the public.
The Rep is next door to the conference, and, rather appropriately, is staging Paul Jenkins’ new play, First Person Shooter, also about hiding inside a bubble and avoiding the real world. Seventeen-year-old schoolboy, Adrian, is addicted to military-shooter computer games. His mother, Maggie, finds it hard to connect with him.
Meanwhile, Maggie works in a high tech company, along with Tom, a nerdy boffin. Tom is researching forms of technology that could revolutionise warfare so that soldiers no longer have to risk their lives. The Ministry of Defence are very interested.
What follows is a dramatised moral argument about the importance of valid experience and risk-taking.
This is a complex, ideas-driven play.
Jenkins skillfully navigates his way through many allusions to illusion: war games, computer games, Platonic philosophy.
He also constructs three dimensional characters and a sound plot to propagate his argument, meaning the play has emotional heart and entertainment value. First Person Shooter is smart and driven – if this is grim reality, let’s have more.
Until October 16