Review: Beep Boop

The evils of technology are critiqued in this funny but repetitive clown show

★★★
theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
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Beep Boop
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Published 05 Aug 2019

Human dependency on technology, particularly mobile phones and social media, is an easy topic to have a pop at. It’s fair enough – there are a lot of problems that have arisen along with it. This physical clown show focuses on loneliness and self-absorption that can be a by-product of our online obsession. Yet, despite many individual, funny moments, the message quickly becomes repetitive.

Despite this, the movement and design are excellent. An on-stage technician looks like a character from The Addams Family, with appropriately jerky, monster-ish physicality. The antihero is a young man similarly styled and choreographed. These are faces that rarely see the sun and spend most of their time facing screens. Their backs are hunched, and scrolling fingers are a prominent motif. These are highlighted with precisely framed spotlights and illumination from a variety of gadgets.

Expansive gestures, exaggeration and slapstick mark the man’s movements from when he leaves work through his evening at home, as he watches YouTube, messages his mates, swipes left and right, and receives a delivery. The latter offers a particularly lovely surprise that serves as a catalyst for a climactic battle between the digital and analogue.

The ability of the performers is unquestionable, but this isn’t a show that poses questions. It makes a clear statement against our tech addiction. But generalising about the evils of tech without considering nuances around access, communication and work efficiency makes this show a one-note critique of our digital world.