Theatre: Beep boop, Assembly George Square, Edinburgh

beep boop, Assembly George Square (Venue 8)
beep boop, Assembly George Square (Venue 8)
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Like the Boy With Tape on his Face if he'd just stepped out of a grave, a figure emerges, squeaking and slurping, his spider-like hands moving in the dark.

Beep boop, Assembly George Square * * * *

Accompanied by an equally gothic, ground-down woman on the mixing decks, he, like she, is permanently tapping away on technology – wedded to his mobile phone, clicking and clamouring around the audience, oblivious to the living, breathing people he bashes into with his grey rucksack and trench coat.

This is a guy who can't do anything without texting or taking selfies, logged into the online world but disconnected from real life. Brilliantly played by Richard Saudek, with his angular, expressive movements creating the dynamic silhouettes of a contemporary comic book strip, this heightened but all too recognisable character frequently seems to be at odds with his own body, a hunched over, crunched up man, as grey on the inside as he is on the out.

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This is mime as a satire of the modern world, the kind of story anyone who's tried having a conversation with someone else only to find them staring into a screen will identify with. From scrolling through barely looked at dating profiles to walking in the night against a screensaver sky, this semi-living semi-human figure is literally sucked into his laptop. But, through Jesse Novak's innovative soundscape, the tweets and beeps occasionally morph into music – Swan Lake, Enya, something techno – enlivening the man in a way the static screen imagery doesn't and inspiring him to dance, hinting at the life he could have if he learned to move differently. While this story of modern technology devouring our life and energy is left somewhat open-ended, this is a provocative and entertaining exploration of a relatable issue, told pretty much without words but in a way that manages to say an awful lot.


Until 25 August

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