The Human Computer

The opening salvo of observation gags, aimed at both the dreaded contraption and his own technological inadequacies, are delivered with wonderfully muddled rage

★★★
archive review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 03 Aug 2007

Perrier winner, Will Adamsdale returns with his new show, an exorcism of private fury. His gripe is with the computer – a modern torture device he neither understands nor admires. The opening salvo of obsevation gags, aimed at both the dreaded contraption and his own technological inadequacies, are delivered with wonderfully muddled rage: if Adamsdale in real-life is anywhere near as wired and nervy as he comes across on stage, I fear dearly for his brain.

However, much like the machines he so despises, this show is constantly in search of an upgrade. Adamsdale swiftly abandons his stand-up shtick in favour of something a little more creative. In seeking to understand his enemy, he tries to become it. By the show's climax, the stage is peppered with cardboard designs and flags, all hoping to recreate the computer screen with a style that steers just the right side of playschool splatter. Much of the audience are co-opted into performing key roles, even so far as directing the action with the help of a cut out mouse-on-a-stick.

His show too often brings to mind Forrest Gump's old adage about chocolate boxes and uncertainty. While some segments are full of stand out moments, others seemed ill thought out and spare on laughs.

The show soon mutates into a mini-epic in which Adamsdale journeys to the heart of the internet, trapped within the mainframe. This peculiar cardboard parody marries themes from the cult sci-fi movie, Tron, with classic blockbuster set-pieces. The scope of this adventure is wonderfully played out against it's technical limitations; toys on wires abound. This section feels a little tacked on and, though aspects of the show re-emerge and engage, it instantly distances the audience from a performer who has previously been so candid.