Chemistry @ The Lantern Theatre ( Brighton Fringe Festival 2023) Review

Psychologist Harry Harlow (1905-1981) in the late 50s went onto make a landmark discovery within the field of psychology – concluding that ‘comfort’ was an integral force in the formation of attachment within mothers and their children, as opposed to food which would have been the general consensus beforehand. With human connection a vital component helping us to foster relationships and process the world around us, to possibly lose this will be a devastating prospect. Tapping into this fastly emerging world of robots, AI and isolation, Polymorth Theatre and Different Theatre present Chemistry, an urgent look at our current climate, one where we see ourselves on the cusp of a digitally overrun world.

Bea (Harriet Main) and Jay (Rowland Stirling) are bound together by the prospect of being a potential genetic match – the population in their futuristic realm created solely via IVF, with children cared for by robotic foster carers. Contained in a sterile, screen-filled room – like a doctor’s waiting room, the pair, with 50 minutes and counting work to figure each other out. The show rooted within our early Web 3 construct, their interactions similar to that you’d have on dating apps yet with a more philosophical air.

Sam Chittenden writes a deep, thought provoking work. A sign of the times, we ponder a world without touch, without connection and this is worrying. Are we slowly heading towards there? Penny Gkritzapi directs a slick, streamlined evening – Main’s Bea, numb to human emotion, Stirling‘s Jay bright eyed and naive – a reminder of humanity and the range of emotions we inhabit! Their interactions understated, yet full of complexity. The iPad-like screens that inhabit their counter tops, and the flatscreen stage left split into two live-streaming both of their reactions perfectly symbolising the tech-focused world we’re currently in – and just how much more overwhelming it could possibly become!

Written by Lucy Basaba.

Chemistry was shown from Thursday 25th until Monday 29th May 2023 at the Lantern Theatre as part of this year’s Brighton Fringe Festival. To find out more about the production, visit here…

Written by Theatrefullstop