- Charing Cross Theatre, London, September 15-October 11, PN September 18
- Authors: Andrew Whyment, Adam Foster, Lee Anderson
- Director: Andrew Whyment
- Design: Georgia De Grey (production), Aaron J Dootson (lighting), Jay Jones (sound), Rhys Lewis (music)
- Technical: Jordan Whitwell (production manager), Jasmin Hay (stage manager)
- Cast includes: Tom Gordon, Cole Edwards, Kevin Phelan, Cliodhna McCorley, Sam Jenkins-Shaw, Louisa Roberts
- Producer: Squint, Steven M Levy, Sean Sweeney
- Running time: 1hr 30mins
Long Story short is a play that centres around the media story of three missing soldiers in 2012, and the resignation of a television news editor that ran with the story, potentially compromising the safety of troops active in Afghanistan.
As a counter-story, we also routinely flash-back to 1968, at which time Rupert Murdoch was undertaking a trip to the UK in order to bid for the News of the World. The timelines of the two stories switch back and forth and portray how Murdoch’s idea of “give them what they want” has been taken a step further with the advent of modern media channels now found on the Internet, i.e. social media and the blogosphere. No longer are media outlets set on giving the public what they want, but allowing the public to choose what they want and actively take part in providing the news they want to themselves. The play seriously outlines the difference between Murdoch’s world and today’s online world.
Our two main characters, a stiff and strict successful TV news editor, Neil, played by Tom Gordon, and a nervous, scruffy but bright and youthful Jamie, played by Cole Edwards are nothing like each other, and as the story unfolds towards the end, we find the tables turned as Jamie turns online media mogul hiring Neil’s old staff.
The cast of eight, who play multiple roles throughout, move around the stage beautifully, almost like a choreographed dance, with a thrilling musical backdrop and an electric soundtrack to give you the feeling of the tension found in a busy newsroom. The sound-scape varies in its volume at times, which allows the undercurrent of tension to be cranked up as the performers traverse the stage interweaving around each other. At times, some of the cast play their part in the soundtrack and do even break out into song.
I enjoyed this play thoroughly, which was a reminder of how media has morphed beyond the world Murdoch had envisaged back when he started and potentially something that is simply become uncontrollable in its current evolved form. We see why traditional media forms are in decline and the reason for an absolute dominance of online platforms that allow everyone to be participants. The play outlines that whilst it’s easy to be a participant on online media platforms, are we as a society or individuals ready for the consequences of a simple post.
The cast of eight, who play multiple roles throughout, move around the stage beautifully, almost like a choreographed dance, with a thrilling musical backdrop and an electric soundtrack to give you the feeling of the tension found in a busy newsroom.