Will Adamsdale: Human Computer

Note: This review is from 2007

Review by Steve Bennett

There are moments in Will Adamsdale’s very clever – yet simultaneously very stupid – show that are almost guaranteed to reduce you to helpless laughter. It’s impossible to identify at which precise moment you’ll tip over, when the combination of earnestness and idiocy reaches its critical mass.

The penultimate Perrier-winner is a misguided genius, investing great creativity into the most ridiculous premise. He did it with Jackson’s Way, and he’s done it again with The Human Computer.

Frustrated by his own efforts to understand his PC, he decides to make his own giant-sized version from cardboard and sealing wax, which he can step into and so get a feeling for how it works. It’s a brilliant use of low-tech theatre to tackle a high-tech subject.

When they wrote Windows For Dummies, they overstated Adamsdale’s IT IQ. He invests every cardboard icon with its own personality, so the virus protection programme becomes an over-strict Scotsman, and the arrow and the hourglass have an on-off relationship. This show is, however, incompatible with Macs – you need at least a casual knowledge of the Microsoft system to get the most from the gags.

Once you’ve finally got your computer up and running, you need programs – and here these are enjoyable little routines Adamsdale can execute at the behest of the user, or audience, in this playfully interactive piece.

This is all hilariously funny, if near-impossible to describe why, other than suggesting it plugs into a childlike playfulness in which the computer, and its various functions, are the toys.

The Human Computer becomes more pedestrian in the final act, when Adamsdale gets sucked into the workings to embark on a heroic quest. This has all the feeling of the low-rent adventures that were popular on the Fringe for a while, which made a virtue of cheap effects and generic plotlines. Adamsdale makes a decent fist of this, but it’s not up there with the best of its type.

This aside, it’s a show that’s two-thirds inspired lunacy, and hilarious for it.

Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

Review date: 1 Jan 2007
Reviewed by: Steve Bennett

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