Neverwant – (rating 5/5)
Imagine a world where you are so controlled that even your choices are made for you, where humanoid robots live and work side by side with humans.
To that extent this play is a typical, and often-told, story of a ritualised techno-driven future. Think Channel Four’s Humans and the premise is quite similar, except here the humans are enslaved. Emotions and values, including love and hate, are either eliminated or else made illegal, replaced by the rulebook of an omnipotent company.
It uses algorithms to gather knowledge about us and dictate what we want and when we want it, believing that this creates a perfectly harmonious society where the ‘refusers’ – those who rebel against the system – are ridiculed and hunted down for valuing ‘freedom over wellbeing’.
If that sounds eerily close to the global ambitions of Google, Facebook and the other digital platforms increasingly invading every aspect of our lives then Neverwant may be less of a comedy drama and more of a vision of the shape of things to come.
Inevitably there are threads of fascism, and the search for a pure society, but the main focus is on how technology not only becomes more important than how, what or why a person thinks or feels, but also determines those sensitivities.
Neverwant is a highly enjoyable new work written by two members of the company, Billy Knowelden and Thomas Willshire (who also performs).
It is an exceptional performance by the same company of young actors who tackle 15 bite-size breakfast plays in rotations of five most mornings at Pleasance Dome. They are to be commended for their stamina and capacity to deliver at such a high standard. Put this on your “must see” list.
Pleasance Courtyard Bunker One (60 min) until 27 August (not 14 or 21)