Throughout the global outbreak of COVID-19, and the ensuing lockdown, friends and families everywhere were forced to reinvent the way in which we connect with one another. Online conferencing software, Zoom, saw users grow by over 12 million in the first three months of lockdown, as people desperate for human contact took to their webcams. From a society where increasing online presence was seen as a dirty topic, we entered a new era of online quizzes, virtual family dinners and digital yoga classes, all in an effort to maintain our sanity.
Mother Pictures, a new branch of independent creative company, Mother London, have produced The Leak, comprising of five short episodes of drama in a Zoom-style format. The series follows the romantic turmoil of a couple following their separation just before lockdown. Sarah, who sees herself as the injured party, finds herself questioning those around her, unsure of where their loyalties lie.
Written by Matt Hartley and directed by Lisa Spirling, the narrative of The Leak unfolds organically over the course of the five episodes, experimenting with this new storytelling technique through a superb blend of comedy and drama. Exploring the way that distanced interaction has affected our mental state, the pieces are approached in a very naturalistic way, with genuine moments of depth to the characters.
The couple’s situation is unique to them in its specifics, but all too relatable in their isolated circumstances – providing an added level of heartache to the scenes. Like most couples, Sarah and Chris (Natalie Dew and Simon Harrison) play games with each other’s emotions rather than approaching their issues directly. Written in a way that shows neither party as blameless we get a really deep sense of the reality of their characters, which allows the overall story arch to progress in a satisfying – and unpredictable – way.
The casting is excellent; the actors have an amazing rapport with one another and something in their portrayal really fills in the gaps between the scenes. There is no dead air, with every moment full of tension and words left unsaid, conveying just as much as the heated dialogue. There is also a surprising amount of character development for such a condensed production. Annette Badland, for instance – playing Sarah’s mother – introduces us to an incredibly stern and opinionated woman, but as the story progresses, we see a multi-faceted matriarch who cares deeply in her own way.
We can all now relate to this virtual world of communication and the emotional challenges that it brings. The Leak utilises this to give us an ultra-modern, and perfectly structured family drama which leaves me itching for more. Well, something tells me the story isn’t quite over…
The Leak is available to watch for free exclusively via IGTV. For more information and to watch, visit @motherlondon on Instagram