Just got home from the BAC where, alongside The Masque of The Red Death, they are also showing Will Adamsdale’s Human Compute. Adamsdale won the Perrier a while back for his play Jackson’s Way and friends of mine whose opinion is usually sound on such things got very excited about his more recent work The Receipt.
Human Computer is playing in Studio 68, a part of the BAC unpenetrated by Punchdrunk. It’s a small space, but it was only half full tonight, which made Adamsdale’s show, which has elements of audience participation, into a sweetly collaborative experience. “Gosh,” he said, surveying the tiny crowd “it’s like being back in Edinburgh.” Hopefully this was a Monday night blip, as this is one of the funniest shows I’ve seen in a long while. Adamsdale takes his technophobia and turns it into the basis of this amiably meandering routine where he dissects the workings of his computer, fashioning all the various windows and icons out of battered bits of cardboard. He revels in his ignorance, claiming his knowledge of the internet runs to once looking at a cricket website, “which was good.”
But it’s not the premise that makes this show work, indeed the premise spelt out like this probably makes Human Computer sound rather nothing much-y. No, the real joy comes via Adamsdale’s disarmingly flustered and tongue-tied delivery. That and the numerous impeccably timed and beautifully constructed lines he throws in as asides; the stories that don’t really go anywhere but are still very amusing and, that rarest of things, the comic song that is actually genuinely funny. He even copes with, what I imagine is, one of the main pitfalls of an audience participation show – mistakenly assigning a key role to the one chap determined to show off to everyone how funny he is – without a trace of irritation.
The show takes a surreal detour in its last quarter, in which Adamsdale becomes trapped in his computer and has to go on a virus-busting quest, which I felt didn’t really come off, it certainly didn't have the same impact as some of the earlier material. But I’ve not laughed this frequently and this fully at anything in quite some time, so, hey, he's forgiven.
There was some talk of whisking people off to join the post-show revelry of the Masque next door afterwards, but I didn’t stick around long enough to see if that happened. I did however add to my tally of theatrical-blogging Andrews by running into Andy Field before the show began.