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REVIEW: Girl In The Machine at North Shields The Exchange

 Girl In The Machine

North Shields The Exchange

Friday 11th February 2022

Before going on tour across the North East:

12th February 2022– Sunderland - 17Nineteen (formerly Holy Trinity Church)

17th February 2022– York - Theatre at 41 

19th February 2022– Durham - Gala Durham

25th February 2022– Newcastle - Northern Stage

Theatre Space North East are currently on tour with a look into the near future. Writer Stef Smith triangulates technology, mental health and the pressures of work into a thought provoking play. The theatre company, under director Jamie Brown, have created a tight and disturbing show that is a modern Play For Today

Corinne Kilvington appears as Polly, a stressed out lawyer who struggles to chill out. The pressures of work are building up and clearly there are issues in her relationship with Owen, performed by Lawrence Neale. Owen is a nurse that deals with life and death matters on a daily basis. He steals a “Black Box” from work for Polly, as it is being used to reduce stress in patients. Polly, who is never far from her mobile phone, agrees to give the device a try and, sure enough, it chills her out for an hour.

This is a look into a near future. A point in time when the public have been asked to have a citizen chip inserted in them. Apart from that it feels like 2022 (without the virus) so it must be set in the near future. The play looks into the consequences of both our current technology and the devices that are being developed.

The show works because the audience will feel that, thanks to good acting, Polly and Owen are a couple that are past that initial flush of puppy love.  As they cope with the unseen external factors you develop an empathy for them and that results in a powerful theatre performance.

The play consists of a lot of short scenes. Now in a film such short segments can help accelerate the pace in the show. In theatre, however, it can have the opposite effect. However director Jamie Brown has made many of the separate occasions segue into each other more closely and this helps keep the pace up. The set is able to cope with an interesting lighting set up that helps the action to flow.

This play is thought provoking, and potentially triggering if you have a mind that is too full of stuff that struggles to make sense of it all.  It is easy to see how Stef Smith’s trajectory for the characters is plausible.

It is great to see theatre happening at this smart North Shields venue. Our one suggestion is ensuring that coffee is available before shows…it was a surprise to be told that the coffee machine had been switched off for the night!

Review: Stephen Oliver


Tickets are available for the rest of the tour from: 

Tickets are available for future shows at The Exchange from : 

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