I Wish I Was Lonely, theatre review: 'in this interactive show, your mobile phone is crucial'

Battersea Arts Centre, London

Click to follow
The Independent Culture

“Make sure your phones are not on silent.” Not something you hear often in the theatre - but in Hannah Jane Walker and Chris Thorpe’s interactive show, your mobile is crucial. We leave voicemails for strangers we’re sitting next to; the evening is soundtracked by bleeps as texts, tweets and calls trickle through.

Thorpe and Walker explore - with sly but gentle humour - the disconnect all this endless noisy connectedness actually brings about. If you can always reach someone, you never really miss them. They poetically draw swift, believable illustrations: the siblings who post clips of Ghostbusters on Facebook but can’t talk about their dead dad; texting a partner to say 'we've had a miscarriage'.

While at times they overstate the case - many of us still surely do still make space for phone-off “aloneness” - they also acknowledge it’s not all negative. Audience members (myself included) are rung by Thorpe, drawn into scenes revealing the benefit of hearing a human voice at the touch of a button. But their central tenet - that smartphones have changed the way we navigate the world, and our relationships - is undoubtedly true.

A subtly provocative investigation that lingers in the mind.

Comments