Eliminate Doubt, Fear and Regret
“Personally I don’t see the upside of you telling your wife you want to fuck another woman.”
Disruption at the Park Theatre is the latest play about artificial intelligence. it is written by an American playwright Andrew Stein and directed by another American, Hersch Ellis.
Set in New York it is about three couples and their very successful friend Nick (Oliver Alvin-Wilson) and his get rich quick projects. Nick and his young assistant Raven (Sasha Desouza-Willock) have formulated an algorithm to solve his friends’ issues. This algorithm is meant to guide you towards success and happiness and buying into it is akin to a pact with the Devil. Nick claims that doubt, fear and regret will be eliminated. The tech genius behind Nick’s scheme, Raven has formulated the following outcomes, “get a divorce, buy a brownstone, have a kid.”
The first couple are Paul (Nick Read) and Jill (Mika Simmons). Jill went to Harvard and she is very successful in her career. They have twin boys who are six. Paul however is in a career which is fading and seems to resent his wife. This resentment is taking the form of Paul wanting to be unfaithful. Nick’s solution is for Jill and Paul get to get a divorce.
Surgeon Barry (Kevin Shen) and his wife Mia (Rosanna Hyland) just want to buy a brownstone house in New York but Nick suggests that they should instead invest half a million dollars in his company. Mia and Jill are sisters. Barry wants to return to the less well paid humanitarian work he did when he was younger and Mia is a photographer.
The third couple are teacher Ben (Nathaniel Curtis) and Suzie (Debbie Korley). Ben wants a child but Suzie does not. Suzie is the most suspicious of Nick and his business plan and with due cause.
Things are further complicated with Nick’s revelation of some muddled sexual pairings including a one night stand. Oliver Alvin-Wilson has great stage presence and is believable as the Mephistolean changer of lives by analysing all the data and intelligence. Sadly Raven is less so.
Hersh Ellis’s production is full of technical visuals using projections of scientific data and interesting lighting to give the play a futuristic element.
I am no expert on the scientific basis for this brave new world but I enjoyed the tension of the production, most of the acting and the ramifications of finding answers that actually do not satisfy both people’s desire in these three pairings.
Written by Andrew Stein
Directed by Hersch Ellis
Director: Andrew Stein
Designer: Zoë Hurwitz
Lighting Designer: Robbie Butler
Composer and Sound Designer: Asaf Zohar
Video/projection designer: Daniel Denton
Movement director: Leanne Pinder
Running Time: Two hours 15 minutes with an interval
Booking to 5th August 2023
London N4 3JP
Tube: Finsbury Park
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge
at the Park Theatre
on 13th July 2023