Writer: Devised by the cast
Director: Mel Cook
Reviewer: Christopher Hong
Free, interactive theatre held in a community centre on the subject of communities in a digital age may not seem to be the most appealing show to choose to see on a Friday evening. But the production is a rather pleasant surprise in that it combines entertainment value with a thoughtful message.
There are two parts to the show, the first being a personality test. Each participant is put in a rather uncomfortable environment and presented with various moral dilemmas. The audience members are categorised and then placed on specific teams so they can test a new piece of
technology called “iAm”. The teams compete against each other in a series of games not dissimilar to team building exercises. The dynamics and interaction among the teams, the commands they shout out and how the iAms behave provide some great comedic moments. A game with a simple premise elicits some ingenious tactics and hilarity ensues.
All this fits into a broader message about the human relationship with technology; how far are we willing to push before it becomes immoral or simply the question of morality in using technology. It is not an especially insightful message but it is still worth considering. There is a particularly strong scene towards the end when the technology goes wrong. It is all the more powerful as if follows all the fun and games. Also, the ending is precipitated by the direct involvement of the audience which helps to drive the message home. Nonetheless, under the direction of Mel Cook, everything is done with a healthy dose of tongue-in-cheek so there is no lack of great entertainment. That is not to say the cast do not play it absolutely straight. Given some of the chaos they have to face, they do a thoroughly commendable job.
A lot of thought and organisation has been invested in this show by the community theatre company SPID. It is brave indeed for a community theatre production to require participation from the audience. But it makes a lot of sense as it draws the audience into the action and engages with them. It is a clever and thoroughly delightful show and is well worth taking the whole family to see.