Before I begin this review, I must begin by saying, I’m not a theatre reviewer. Or a film reviewer, or anything like that. I am merely a punter, someone who like watching stuff on the big screen, who enjoys a bit of fantasy, a little sci-fi, and in this case, I was expecting to get both.
I did. When it begins with music provided by a long legged blonde haired, blue alien, with black lit make up and a very obvious pregnancy bump (imagine Mystique without the scales, blonder and in the club) you know it’s not going to be very close to home.
And yet it is. Future Bodies explores the ideas that are no so very ahead of our time, think implants to increase productivity, mobile phones no longer being in your hands, but in your heads, and health problems being fixed by a tweak here, and a brain implant there. You only have to look at the Human Brain Project to see how much work is being done in this field alone, let alone moving into our consciousness being uploaded into the cloud.
And it’s these glimpses into our possible future that are brilliant. Questioning the morality of changing who we are. Giving one person advantage over another, and the potential for misuse – if ‘the company’ can upgrade you via an implant to do your tasks faster, what other things does it give them control or access to? Is it right to ask someone who is dying to have their consciousness uploaded to a computer somewhere – does that lose us an element of our humanity, our ability to touch and feel.
And, perhaps more interestingly, if we do manage to do all that, where do we go from there? Do we ditch bodies altogether, and become ethereal, moving through the universe as energy rather than as people? Or will we just become a mix of the two, some favouring the corporeal, others the opportunity to travel as particles – if that is truly possible.
It asks the last in perhaps the most moving of all these small scenes. And I must admit, I would have been more than happy for it to end on such a heartbreaking, questioning nuance. But there was more.
The final section, is perhaps where it lost me. Well, both me and my date. I’m not sure I can give the whole thing away, what we saw was a preview, and elements may have changed, but it became a much more physical show. Harsh music that bordered on the uncomfortable, was paired with sometimes frenetic movements on stage, writhing, leaping, rolling. Whilst I’m no stranger to a little interpretive dance, I must admit to being somewhat bemused by the stage as the blue alien wandered between the actors, touching and dancing with them, with no real theme to the movements or interaction.
And that’s a bit of a shame, because for me, this asked questions that should be asked, put forward true to life scenarios, and in between the laughs (oh yes, it wasn’t all seriousness) and made us think a little about research that may begin to blossom in our lifetimes.