Thu 3rd – Sun 27th August 2017


Darcy Rollins

at 16:31 on 26th Aug 2017



Most shows that impress me do so because they make me think. Strangely, in 'Losers' it was the opposite quality that impressed me. 'Losers' made me switch off, and then, prompted me to think about why I switched off.

As soon as you enter the venue you are plunged into the atmosphere of reality tv. The energy of Arthur, Sophie, Tommy and Rachel is strangely contagious, especially strange for someone like me who will pretty much seek out 'hard-hitting' drama at every opportunity and will happily roll her eyes at audience participation when in such 'hard-hitting drama' mode. The creators of this energy seem remarkably like real people. Brightly clad and oozing desperation, the cohort, just out of drama school, are hoping to 'make it' with a tv reality show where the audience votes on who is the most attractive, most memorable, most honest and on a variety of other traits that, slightly more subtly, influence the voting choices of reality tv viewers all over the world. One of the most entertaining, and sad, was "Who's the most tragic?" This show nails the Roman Colosseum quality of reality TV, a place where citizens centuries ago would flock to see blood.

Here, the great British public is the audience and the punishment is not merely being voted off but, well, real punishment. I won't spoil what cruel fate befalls unpopular contestants but the advertising is not exaggerating when it warns of "real (controlled) violence".

None of this was particularly shocking for me. It was like experiencing something I'd experienced before, namely reality TV. For me, and I would predict for many others, who've watched 'Love Island' or anything of that ilk, the process of judging people's flaws, weaknesses, strengths, attractiveness is nothing new. Taking it to an extreme level is an almost expected satire of 'reality tv': not quite Charlie Brooker territory but definitely on that thread. So, as a concept, it is a little tired. Where 'Losers' stands out is in its characters. The crude nature of voting on basis of wealth, promiscuity while provocative, was given life by the reactions and replies of the characters. All four were excellent but Sophie as the slightly quivering and earnest 'weakest' of the 4 stood out. From the moment it begins, she exudes a nervous energy that makes you feel for her. When she was eviscerated by Rachel, the audience winced for her.

I was impressed by 'Losers' because it so precisely evoked a reality tv show that I became numb to it. When the darkest elements of judgement from those shows were intensified, it made me think about the identical judgement, more subtly framed with less severe consequences, I've become 'numb' to. Although crude and dystopian, the real intrigue of 'Losers' is how real it feels.


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