The Ghost in the Machine

‘Technology can bring us together but also tear us apart’: THE GHOST IN THE MACHINE – A Zoom play (Online review)

In London theatre, Online shows, Opinion, Plays, Reviews by Shanine SalmonLeave a Comment

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As Covid-19 continues to limit new theatrical productions, writers and producers are finding new ways to show their work. For many, streams have proved popular, particularly for larger theatres like the National, who have released their NT Live productions (and some non-NT Live productions such as Barber Shop Chronicles) to the masses to high numbers and great acclaim.

This play, written especially for Zoom by John Knowles, looks at a group of people trying to make a seance work when they cannot hold hands with medium Amelia’s (Emily Carding) instruction getting lost (How do you hold hands on Zoom!?), along with Peter’s (Patrick Kearney) technology struggles and Frank’s (Sidney Kean) agent (who calls so infrequently she may as well be dead).

At just twenty minutes, this is an often humorous look at connecting when we are apart and how technology can bring us together but also tear us apart. The decision to keep it short worked in its favour, never outstaying its welcome, but the lack of development of Sabina Arthur’s Alice and any clarity of what brings this group together regularly could be expanded on.

I struggled to imagine this on the stage, but I think, with adjustments, Knowles (who also stars) could develop this into a stage-based thriller; perhaps bringing the characters together or as monologues as they are kept apart.

Shanine Salmon on RssShanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.
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Shanine Salmon on RssShanine Salmon on Twitter
Shanine Salmon
Shanine Salmon was a latecomer to theatre after being seduced by the National Theatre's £5 entry pass tickets and a slight obsession with Alex Jennings. She is sadly no longer eligible for 16-25 theatre tickets but she continues to abuse under 30 offers. There was a market for bringing awareness that London theatre was affordable in an era of £100+ West End tickets – Shanine’s blog, View from the Cheap Seat, launched in April 2016, focuses on productions and theatres that have tickets available for £20 and under. She is also quite opinionated and has views on diversity, pricing, theatre seats and nudity on stage. Her interests include Rocky Horror, gaming, theatre (of course) and she also has her own Etsy shop. Shanine tweets at @Braintree_.

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