Jackie Hatton – Virtually a Reality

By Colin Flaherty

From the opening video segment featuring “audience” praise for Jackie Hatton you know that we are soon heading into the dodgy parts of the internet. Virtually a Reality is a hilarious look at the minefield of cyberspace and one woman’s attempt to navigate it.

She begins with clever observational stand up about the wonders of the digital age. Gushing about the utopia we are headed towards with a sense of naivety soon veers into the darker corners as we are introduced to her digital boyfriend, an unpleasant Andrew Tate like figure created via Jackie’s algorithms. Plenty of comical conflict ensues as they argue with innuendo and double entedres aplenty. Hatton then segues into a story of being hacked and fending off all the misinformation made in her name.

As expected this is a tech heavy show with her responding to and interacting with the screen. When the tech decides to behave, she presents a seamless fusing of the digital world with the physical one. Flashes of internet search history provides wicked glimpses into her character. The many deep fake characters we see are all on the ridiculous side of the uncanny valley. This heightened artificial world in which we are placed is a joy to behold.

Hatton is a brilliant performer who gives us a sassy hero to cheer for, an innocent with a cheeky grin. She portrays this surprisingly nuanced character with a deft hand. It’s not the most physical of performances (she’s primarily standing before a screen) but she conveys so much with gestures and expressions.

In a festival containing multiple shows sharing the theme of internet life this is surely among the best. While not doing much to address our fears of the impending robot uprising, this modern day hero’s journey has plenty of laughs.

Virtually a Reality is on at Doubletree by Hilton until April 21