"Timely play about social isolation"
by Matthew Partridge for remotegoat on 12/06/19

“To Drone In The Rain”, directed by Lorenzo Mason and running at the Tristan Bates, is a play about dependency, loyalty and selfishness. Tom (Michael Benbaruk) suffers from severe social anxiety and is only able to function in his job as a bespoke travel agent with the help of his robot Drone Girl (Nell Hardy). However, an encounter with Drone Boy (Lino Facioli), the assistant of someone Tom has fallen in love with, causes her to reassess her life and consider whether she is doing more harm than good. Unfortunately, her efforts to get Tom to take more responsibility don’t work out as planned.

On one level, many people may find Michael Ellis’ play a little on the bleak side. However, with social media’s impact on society increasingly up for debate, it is extremely timely. Hardy and Benbaruk give some excellent performance, with Hardy showing a human heart underneath all the electronic circuitry. Benbaruk is also a fully rounded character, who provokes as much exasperation as sympathy. Although the ending appears to be dark, the sellout audience is permitted one final glimmer of hope at the end, that that the sacrifice of one character hasn’t completely been in vain. Definitely one to see.

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