Assisted @ theSpaceUK: Surgeon’s Hall – Theatre 2 (Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022) Review

We live in a day now where we not only can Google questions and receive answers to said questions in the split of a second, it’s been taken a step further now where we can ask that external, apolitical voice – in the form of Alexa or Siri questions and we’ll hear back the answer deemed the most suitable by the operating system. If you’d have heard that this would be the reality a decade ago, I’m sure it would have sounded absurd, however this accurately sums up where we’re currently at – A.I. and humanity intertwined, but what happens when power gradually sways towards A.I., and they dictate how we live. Exploring this in their piece Assisted, Oxia Arts ponder the sway in power and what this could look like.

Couple Jordan (Matt Vickery) and Connie (Emma Wilkinson Wright) are happy in their current circumstances and therefore look to maintain this – resorting to operating system ‘Alixia’ (Jessica Munna) to give them the tools needed to last. A seemingly lighthearted, playful idea at the start now bordering on obsession, particularly for Jordan, the couple very slowly crumble apart and giving way to paranoia and coercive control, and inevitably a regret to giving such control to a source not capable of managing a relationship and having an understanding of humanity’s nuances.

Vickery’s Jordan is meticulous, a character who follows the rules by the book and hates to stray away from logic, Wilkinson Wright’s Connie free spirited, not afraid to go with the flow, embodying an understanding that not everything can be controlled. Greg Wilkinson observingly capturing a couple’s playfulness during the honeymoon period and cleverly having the hour slip into a dystopian what if, a needed addition to the sci-fi theatre genre that leaves us thinking. Jessica Munna’s Alivia is quietly chilling, the omniscient computerised relationship advisor the cause of the couple’s disintegration, it’s as if there are more than two people within the relationship which is a fascinating dynamic to watch play out. A play for our times.

Review written by Lucy Basaba.

Assisted is currently showing until Saturday 20th August/Monday 22nd to Saturday 27th August 2022 at the theSpace@Surgeons’ – Theatre 2. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop