Review: I Woke Up Feeling Electric, Hope Theatre

What if Siri had feelings? Jack Robson’s I Woke Up Feeling Electric asks some morally and technologically challenging questions at the Hope Theatre

Bertie, what’s the weather like?
Bertie, how’s my commute?
Bertie, define ‘ineluctable’.

Incoming Artistic Director Kennedy Bloomer’s reign at the Hope Theatre begins with this quirky little thing from first time writer Jack Robson. In an ever increasingly digital age, I Woke Up Feeling Electric takes the step of anthropomorphising the AI assistants who now adorn many of our homes and devices and asks what life might be like on the other side of the technological divide.

The play starts strongly, all kinds of comic mileage extracted Robson’s conception of Bertie (such is this Siri-like figure named) as a digital Jeeves, responding to any and every request from his unseen owner for information or alarm snooze or calendar reminder with a patient smile and chirpy demeanour. But at the moment when he’s asked to sync with a new, faster, sleeker device – Vita – trouble starts brewing and not the sort you can fix just by turning it off and on again.

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