Theatre Sketch: The Nether

The Nether The Nether – the future term for the internet, offers complete freedom – a new virtual wonderland providing total sensory immersion in a dystopian future. Los Angeles based dramatist Jennifer Haley’s award-winning play, directed by Jeremy Herrin, transferred to London’s Duke of York’s Theatre for a limited 12 week run after a sold out season at The Royal Court. Charles Spencer wrote his review for the Telegraph, “Stanley Townsend is memorably sinister and devious as the owner of the site… in this haunting and highly original modern fairy tale.”

Award winning Irish actor Stanley Townsend plays Sims, who in the guise of Poppa creates The Hideaway where “guests” can do unspeakable things to a 12 year old avatar named Iris. His acting credits include Whistle Blower, Heartbeat, Jonathan Creek, Ballykissangel, A Touch of Frost, The Bill, Ashes to Ashes and Ripper Street for TV and films In the Name of The Father, Happy Go Lucky and Killing Bono.

Included in The Nether’s four Olivier Award nominations was a Supporting Actress recognition for the four ‘young Iris’s’ – Isabella Pappas, Jaime Adler, Perdita Hibbins, Zoe Brough. Zoe left the production to take up her role as Blousey Brown in Bugsy Malone at the Lyric Hammersmith, but I met the other three at the theatre where they along with Stanley signed my sketch.

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Drawing: David Calder, The Nether

David Calder

Nominated for four Olivier Awards, including Best New Play, Jennifer Haley’s haunting sci-fi drama about the darker side of the internet The Nether transferred to the West End last month from its sell out run at The Royal Court.

One of the other nominations in Jeremy Herrin’s immaculate production is David Calder for Best Actor in a Supporting Role. He plays Doyle, a frail science professor and family man whose alter ego is a prim young nine year old girl called Iris, who hangs out with male visitors and lets them chop her head off as often as they like. Just your average fun night out at the theatre, then.

David’s extensive stage and screen credits include King Lear, Macbeth, Titanic, Hustle, Midsummer Murders and the Bond film The World is Not Enough. “This is mind bending, it’s ingenious and it’s ethically challenging…. superbly cast and stunningly designed.”

After The Nether, which finishes on the 25 April at The Duke of York’s Theatre, David slips back in time, playing Winston Churchill in The Audience at The Apollo.