Smoke machines, lasers, flying spaceships, live music and a mission to save the future of humanity, all in one fun-filled hour. At the final frontier of C (the basement -1 space) The Alchemist Theatre Company whisk you to a world of the future in 2440 AD, where meals are now in pill-form, you can go to a ‘brain cinema’ to watch a film and humans are dependent on upgrades for survival and for luxury. As you enter the theatre advertisements play for these aforementioned products, including the ‘Nuclear Family Upgrade Package’ from Humans Incorporated where one can upgrade one’s spouse, teenager and even baby and introduce us to this brave new world. The black stage, brimming with smoke is first inhabited by an exciting dance of spaceship puppets, with vocal sound effects created by the performers that carry them. Soon we encounter the protagonist of the story Isaac in his home and his realisation that he has only 3 days to upgrade before he dies and no forthcoming credits with which to purchase the upgrade. Throw in his job as a police officer and a mission received to retrieve a mysterious package for the enigmatic Humans Inc and the adventure really begins.
Given the melodramatic dialogue and clichéd plot the performances are, on the whole, pretty strong, including some good multi-roling. The sound effects, exciting music, inventive use of props and effective use of lighting make you care a lot less about the lack of dramatic set, special effects or intricate costumes. You begin to sit back and realise that you have been invited to join in with a bunch of adults playing at sci-fi,and nothing else matters other than that you are having rather a good time. Despite the less-than-satisfying ending, you leave having sensed you’ve very much enjoyed yourself.
Yes, it is low budget (it’s the Fringe, people). Yes, it is a far from flawless plot but if you want an hour of engaging entertainment Humans Inc is definitely worth a watch.