Review: Wow Everything Is Amazing in an imagined digital future (Battersea Arts Centre)
While the raps, music and dance bring a celebratory, uplifting feel there are hints at the price of it all.
Youth theatre group Sounds Like Chaos imagine the digital world 50 years in the future, presenting the vision as a pseudo-church service where citizens worship at the altar of the internet.
To one side is a congregation, dressed in jumpsuits complete with the logos of digital companies. On the other is a 'choir' wearing a futuristic version of the traditional chorister robes.
They worship and offer praise to 'Godhead' who glides up the aisle on a self-balancing scooter (hoverboard) on a promise to 'be here for you'.
The backdrop of the 'alter' is a huge screen onto which there are projections of a futuristic world together with some more familiar images.
Cleverly devised by the group phrases like 'agree and proceed' become refrains. The choir rap about binary code and the launch of the internet and the congregation break into euphoric dance routines.
'Lessons' recall life before the digital revolution - the 'horror' of having one landline at home, dial-up internet speeds and having to physically write letters.
Faith in digital
Faith in the digital religion means when you 'lose everything' you can just look to the cloud to have it 'restored'.
Data is currency, how you pay for having everything free and Godhead knowing just what you need.
While the raps, music and dance bring a celebratory, uplifting feel there are hints at the price of all this, who sets the algorithms and what are you missing out on?
Who is being excluded and is the price of digital 'freedom' what it appears?
Vibrant, clever and amusing this is an entertaining piece, confidently performed and imaginatively staged and I'm giving it ⭐️⭐️⭐️⭐️.
Wow Everything Is Amazing is 60 minutes long and is at Battersea Arts Centre until April 12, then tours to:
The Albany, London 16-18 April
Tobacco Factory, Bristol 30 June
If you want to read more about the play and how it was devised, I interviewed Sounds Like Chaos co-founder Roisin Feeny.
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