The play opens with a series of Youtube style videos where our main character Lyra (Hayley May Muirhead) speaks directly to the audience/followers. Showing us the correct way to apply make-up, talking about body positivity and her top three life hacks. All sounds perfectly innocent and quite commonplace online these days.
Her most trusted group of four followers affectionately called the Lybaby’s who all hang on her every word and live by the rules she has set out. They are religiously guided by her and on the surface trust what she tells them to be the whole truth and nothing but the truth. When she makes the shock announcement that she has a new personal assistant Gemma (Caitlin Goman) questions start to be asked.
The rot begins to set in within the group as her former PA (lybaby) Shelly has suddenly disappeared without a trace or word to anyone. Lyra explains that she has gone away on a mission to set up another sect to gather more followers. That is until her deceased body is discovered and the police begin investigating.
The play is cleverly crafted as the audience are drip-fed the plot in an honest and harmless explanation through what appears to be helpful advice through Lyra’s channel. One of the very powerful devices the play uses is Lyra’s eyes changing during her vlogs. They become almost hypnotic and reminded of the snake Kaa from the Jungle Book. Extremely effective and quite unnerving at the same time.
For example, when Lyra claims that botox is the new cure for depression as you can have your face fixed in place with a permanent smile which aides the person to feel happy in themselves permanently, the audience is at that point completely aware of how warped and dangerous her thinking has become.
The cast of five are equally strong and deliver powerful performances that leave you feeling very uneasy as it’s closer to reality than many of us would like to believe.
Art imitating life through The Wild Flesh is a harsh reality for many young women and girls in society today as many are influenced by online vloggers similar to Lyra on the social media platform. A very real concern for many parents.
Director Tashan Gilardi has bought together with this very well scripted and poignant commentary on a darker side of the online world. As the play highlights it’s becoming a modern-day cult which can lead to devastating consequences.