BBC Radio 4, 29 August 2012
Homemaker Ali (Lydia Leonard) spends much of her time looking after her
children and working in a voluntary capacity for the school. However her efforts are not always appreciated; on a mothers'
chat site she finds herself criticized by anonymous users using handles such as BumsTooBig, and BubblyMummly. Ali cannot help
wishing that she could find out the real names of these people.
In Jonathan Myerson's satiric comedy, her wishes are granted: a Veracity Virus strikes
the entire country, and everyone's true identities - whether communicating on social networks, chatrooms, or on blogs - are
actually revealed. Chaos ensues: we discover that celebrities such as Stephen Fry, or the gold-medallists Mo Farah and Jessica
Ennis are not quite the paragons of virtue that their public personae might suggest. In a state of panic, the government repeals
the Official Secrets Act (as there are no secrets left to conceal), while the BBC's technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones
(playing himself) sonorously informs us that there are little or no measures in place to neutralize the virus.
Jonquil Panting's production had some trenchant things to say about the world of
internet communication, which has developed its own language of acronyms (IMHO, LOL, etc), and where 'truth' and
'sincerity' count for little. As the action spun out of control, however, the performances tended to become a little
too strident, with noise taking precedence over verbal subtlety. The play was often very funny, and did not require
over-the-top acting to make its points.