Pushing theatre into the realm of gaming makes sense in a piece to be watched on computer screens. And the scenario behind Nat Henderson and Joe Strickland’s new writing – a utopian computer programme hijacked by investors – tries hard to combine big topics with plenty of questions. Unfortunately, the execution of neither effort impresses.
An audience member’s induction as a new recruit to a tech company is interrupted by Myles, the genius founder now hacking his way into the system. It’s a good enough twist. But the request to aid Myles is hard to swallow. The project you are asked to help sabotage – Away – is a confusing mix of virtual reality and gender reassignment. Furthermore, the options to assist are limited and it’s too clear that refusing to do so ends the show!
Henderson and Stickland have created a complex character with Myles, guaranteed to intrigue by the mythical introduction given. The delivery of the role, by TL Thompson, is stilted but holds attention. Unfortunately, Myles’ unbelievable naivety about business undercuts the script’s effort to connect commerce and life choices. It’s also a shame that the only other role – a former friend and now nemesis, who we see secretly recorded – is underwritten.
There are some nice touches of humour to the show that could clearly be developed (I enjoyed the videos of sloths) but tackling big arguments takes time and Henderson and Strickland don’t allow themselves this. Nor do they manage to build any tension into events that are too vague to care about. It seems safe to assume we are supposed to be rooting for Myles (and even his AI assistant) but there’s too little insight or history to build a connection. Myles Away has to go much further if it wants to really work.
Until 9 August 2020