Artificially Yours
Rating: ★★★★
Venue: Riverside Studios, London
Cast: Leslie Ash, Paul Giddings, Destiny Mayers, Ella Jarvis, Aaron Thakar, Jake Mavis, Katherine Moran and David Boyle  

A gripping, dark-comedy that explores the hilarious and disturbing consequences of our society’s increasing trust in Artificial Intelligence. 

Three couples allow an AI relationship therapy device into their homes in the hopes it can solve the pettiest of arguments and help them grapple the most complex, human issues. Divorce, jealousy, shenanigans, could AI be the key to domestic bliss?

In a world that's so reliant on technology, it's no surprise there's now plays being written about the intricacies of smart devices and the terrifyingly clever ways they can assist in our lives. Playwright Aaron Thakar clearly takes inspiration from devices such as Amazon's infamous Alexa. This makes the concept of the show scarily realistic. 

This dark comedy explores our increasing reliance on artificial intelligence. It has a short 2 week run which started on 9th April in a small studio theatre at the Riverside Studios in Hammersmith, London. Three couples use an AI therapy programme, Agapē, to help resolve their disputes and disagreements. This comedy explores if AI can help such complex human emotions.

The stage was a sofa and two armchairs with a coffee table. It was used well with one couple exiting the stage to be replaced by another for the next scene using minimal props. The AI itself was represented by a round device on the table with a blue light which brightened when it spoke. Very effective at making you think about similar devices many of us have in our homes.

Pippa and Martin, played by Leslie Ash and Paul Giddings, have separated despite previously using Agapē. Pippa still heavily relies on the AI programme to make decisions, whereas Martin is in a new relationship, dislikes it and won't use Agapē again and prefers Pippa didn't. Lilah played by Destiny Mayers feels uncomfortable with a device listening to them constantly. Ash, Aaron Thakar, becomes more and more reliant on Agapē and follows any advice it gives religiously. Ellie, Ella Jarvis and Noah, Jake Mavis, have a new and rather shallow relationship. Ellie believes Agapē can guide them to a stronger long term commitment, Noah however does not!

We view how each relationship is ultimately impacted by an AI therapist and watch out for a couple of surprises at the end. The actors all played their parts convincingly but Jake Mavis was a standout as the slightly vacant, running obsessed Noah. He was wickedly funny. As this was his first time on the stage, this is an even more impressive feat.

This play by young playwright Aaron Thakar has promise and is worth a watch if you can get tickets. It's both funny and thought provoking.

You can book tickets to see Artificially Yours at Riverside Studios, here.

Review by Ed

**photo credit: Andrew Fosker**

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