Writer: Alex Oates
Director: Dominic Shaw
Reviewer: Anna Ambelez
Drugs and the internet, both big businesses today, put the two together, dynamic. Young Bruce Blackmore (James Baxter) lives with his ageing Nan. At a party, he is introduced to drugs and bowled over by a girl, two things that change his life. Being a small time DJ at the local drug boss’s club is not enough to attract, so he thinks the answer could be to become a drugs entrepreneur. Bruce then takes you through the journey to achieve this, in his desperation to impress.
Silk Road derives its name originally from the Chinese Silk trade and was a series of trade transmission routes; it now is the main dark online marketplace to visit anonymously, to buy drugs. This play started life as a ten minute short, but the writer, Alex Oates, became absorbed by the concept of buying drugs online. Among his many credits is the distinction of being the only writer to have worked on every series of ‘Eastenders’.
The small studio space is used well, the director Dominic Shaw incorporating props, furniture, physical movement from Gareth Taylor and audience participation. As well as Bruce, James Baxter plays a host of characters in the tale, like his Nan and drugs boss Mr Shaggy; he handles this skilfully, moving from scene to scene effortlessly, simultaneously changing character, by altering his voice, facial expression and body stance. He relates his story to the audience like they are his best friend and they are, because he enthralls, entertains and holds them. This is new writing at its best, well-staged and brilliantly acted, if only more festival shows were like this.
Runs till 26th August