A Reviews Round-up for the world premiere production of Disruption at the Park Theatre in London.
This cautionary play about AI by Andrew Stein (White Privilege, Cringe), stars Nathaniel Curtis (It’s a Sin), Oliver Alvin Wilson (Lord of the Rings: Rings of Power, Henry VI Parts 2&3, All of Us), Sasha Desouza-Willock (Deep Heat), Rosanna Hyland (Back to the Future, The School of Rock), Debbie Korley (I, Joan , Henry VIII), Nick Read (I Came By, The Girl on the Train), Kevin Shen (Life of Pi, Yellow Face), and Mika Simmons (Showtrial).
The creative team includes: Director Hersh Ellis; Movement Director Leanne Pinder; Set & Costume Designer Zoë Hurwitz; Lighting Designer Robbie Butler; Sound Designer Asaf Zohar; Video Designer Daniel Denton; Casting Director Harry Blumenau; Associate Designer Roisin Martindale; and General Manager David Adkin Limited.
Billed as a sharp, unnerving thriller, the play centres on tech entrepreneur Nick (Oliver Alvin Wilson) who presents his three best friends with his next big idea: an algorithm that is more complex than the human brain and promises to guide them through big life decisions better and more effectively than they can guide themselves.
Disruption is playing at the Park Theatre until 5 August 2023.
Read reviews from The Times, Guardian, Evening Standard and more, with further reviews to follow.
"This witty, incisive AI play could hardly be more timely"
"It’s great to see a play engage so aggressively with contemporary technology"
"Given the current existential anxiety over artificial intelligence, this zippy black comedy about online entrepreneurs could hardly be more timely."
"One of Stein’s nice touches is that Nick is revealed to be merely a salesman while Raven is the brains of the operation – at least until the algorithm starts learning for itself. His writing has an identifiably American gloss and polish. Ideas planted in the first half flower neatly in the second, albeit with a few surprises."
"The acting in Hersh Ellis’s pacy production is not uniformly good. But Debbie Korley stands out as the aloof and critical Suzie, who unbends in spectacular fashion. Rosanna Hyland also impresses as the abstracted Mia."
"... I know it shouldn’t irk me that the props and costumes look cheap in a play about the well-off and the super-wealthy; but it does."
"Compelling dark comedy about AI"
"Timely and incisive speculative satire predicts the insidious influence of AI"
"... Andrew Stein’s compelling dark comedy feels both prophetic and deeply discomfiting."
"Director Hersh Ellis gives the piece a fluid, dynamic staging, with scenes overlapping and bleeding into one another. Performers often linger after their dialogue has ended, lurking in doorways or lounging about in attitudes of deep thought or simmering paranoia."
"It could seem bleak, yet the playful, committed actors relentlessly wring humour from it, humanising their deeply flawed characters with quirky and affectionate interactions."
"Oliver Alvin-Wilson is brilliantly charismatic and horribly believable as Mephistophelian tech-bro Nick, going to desperate, despicable lengths to convince his friends to invest in his unethical social experiment."
"A darkly comical AI thriller"
"In Andrew Stein’s new play all that can stop AI taking centre stage is a group of old college friends roped in to be lab rats in an experiment conducted by their Silicon Valley entrepreneur pal."
"Will each of the three 40ish New York couples do just as predicted by an algorithm that apparently knows us better than we know ourselves and thus makes our decisions for us? If so, it slowly becomes clear, charismatic Nick (Oliver Alvin-Wilson, tremendous) and his psycho-slinky business partner Raven (Sasha Desouza-Willock) can get their billion-dollar scheme off the ground."
"Disruption is a good idea, falteringly well executed. On the one hand Stein and his director, Hersh Ellis, offer us a tech thriller... The plot moves slower than you expect, though."
"At its best Disruption finds ways to meld Stein’s sharp understanding of our patterns of behaviour with the machine’s ways of predicting them."