Fringe Review

CTRL+ALT+DELETE – Camden Peoples Theatre

ctrl alt delete

We often hit CTRL+ALT+DELETE to restart or reboot when technology fails or something malfunctions. But what if we could hit the reset button when a person is dysfunctional – if they have an internal error?

Amy Jones would like to hit the hard reset on her abusive mother who has instilled years of terror on her defenceless daughter. Amy has been subjected to domestic abuse all her life with her only sanctuary being her loving grandfather. He taught Amy to be a stronger person and to reach beyond the belittled child her mother made her feel like.

Emma Packer, playwright and actor, takes centre stage in this one woman show. She tackles the roles of both Amy and her mother intertwining the two stories, offering both perspectives to offer some background and understanding to this complex relationship that should be unconditional. She has a strong presence and is an engaging performer as she uses the audience as her confidantes.

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Emma’s accent as Amy takes some getting used to but hints at a multicultural upbringing. She reminisces of precious times spent with her grandfather as he embraced the new cultures enriching Brixton’s landscape. As a small child she saw Nelson Mandela as a hero and wrote to him every month without response. She later speaks of our changing world today, the stigma surrounding the migrant crisis and the many intolerant views.

It’s a valid point to make although feels slightly off-piste as the production takes an unexpected turn and launches into a full political outpouring. Packer attempts to link the control and abuse experienced in Amy and her mother’s relationship to current affairs of lies in the press, in the Government and police. It sadly feels quite disjointed and stunts the flow of a production that was building towards a resolution for Amy.

Packer’s talent for writing shines as the verses often sound poetic with great metaphors and eloquent flair. She makes the references relatable with mentions of the Spice Girls and Simon Cowell’s high waisted trousers that often induces a laugh from the audience. Perhaps with a bit more clarity and smoother transitions between topics, the fragments would gel better together to create a hugely topical and poignant piece.

CTRL+ALT+DELETE runs until 16th August at the Camden Peoples Theatre

(Photo courtesy of David Packer)

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