“Poor little woman – she is gaping after love like a carp on a kitchen table.”

Emma Barnicott’s life bares many parallels to Emma Bovary’s. Gustave Flaubert’s enduring narrative on adultery, Madame Bovary, is here revisited as an exploration of the role of social media in modern relationships. Bea Roberts' performance has no actors but with the use of a TV, a soundboard, several projectors, an animated PowerPoint Presentation and a variety of physical props, she draws us into an immersive performance.

Emma Barnicott’s life is banal and empty; the daily commute, the microwave dinners and sexless marriage are a painful routine. Emma works in a bathroom fitting company and when asked to man the company’s online help desk, an exchange of emails and a complaint about pipes leads to a virtual romance.

With the ongoing Anthony Weiner sexting scandals leading the news going into the upcoming US elections, it’s easy to see how even those in influential political positions can succumb to the exhilaration and seduction of a simulated relationship. The ability to develop an online augmented alter ego, as Emma does, can become totally absorbing and be a welcome distraction from the trivialities of daily life. Emma’s affair never transcends cyberspace and unlike Sharon Osborne, who recently threatened Ozzy with divorce on finding a slew of amorous emails, her real life relationships are thankfully never affected.

Bea Roberts' show considers the ease with which sexting and technology lubricate virtual betrayal. The loss of sexual intimacy seems inherent in the progression of technology. Bea Roberts addresses how even the most humdrum life can be affected by the evolution of online relationships. In a world of ghosting and negging with no chance for the brain to assess body language or any other sensory information, any perception of tenderness and affection in an online relationship may be distorted or imaginary. (LO)

Infinity Pool: A Modern Retelling of Madame Bovary ran at 16.45 at Bedlam Theatre (Venue 49) -

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