@JohnLewis: Never Knowingly Undertweeted

John Lewis is both a department store and an American teacher, but only one can be @johnlewis

★★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 06 Aug 2018
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@johnlewis: Never Knowingly Undertweeted

John Lewis is a middle-class, British retail chain. John Lewis is also a computer science teacher in America. Another John Lewis is a black congressman in Georgia who fiercely opposes Donald Trump.

The Twitter handle @johnlewis belongs to the second of these John Lewises, and his patience with tweets sent to him about late deliveries and the current American political landscape is a thing of wonder. Using real tweets from @johnlewis's feed, satirical performer Simon Jay looks at individuality on social media in this gently funny sketch show.

Billed as a theatre show, though much more of a series of sketches, Jay plays a range of characters, from the John Lewis behind @johnlewis as a beleaguered teacher whose students relentlessly nag him about his Twitter account, to annoyed customers, to the retail chain's social media team. Jay uses them all to loosely consider the importance of identity online. This thematic thread isn't fully developed, and there's scope for more commentary that ties the sketches together more firmly.

Jay is an engaging performer with a good sense of comic timing. He has a warm demeanour rather than a cold and spiky one. His brand of humour elicits chuckles rather than belly laughs and ends on a positive note instead of one of cynicism or despair. It's an intimate show that makes a big theme personal, though the clever show concept isn't totally integrated with the theme.