Don’t have time to read the full review? Click here for a quick summary of the who, what, where and wine of this production.
Control is a futuristic variety show with all the gut and gusto that makes independent theatre so special.
Written by Keziah Warner and directed by Patrick Howard, Control is a story told in three parts. We begin on a reality show in outer space with four competitors who emanate the reality tropes we know and love, and love to hate. The cast is phenomenal, each bringing a different form of humour to the table; we have the fame-hungry diva, the guy with a hero complex, a woman experiencing all the joys and back pain of pregnancy, and the one who’s suspicious – is this really their shot at stardom? Is anyone even watching?
Next, humans store their memories in libraries manned by AI bots, but they’re a bit glitchy, with hilarious implications for the human staff. It’s a classic sci-fi premise that starts off as comedy but as we meet people desperate to access their own memories but unable to afford them, and others who can afford to make memories disappear, this chapter reveals its relevance to the here and now.
Finally, humans live on Mars alongside AI, but how attached should we allow ourselves to get to our new non-human friends? A tragic end to our journey, we follow a woman tasked with training an AI bot to be a teacher. Friendships between bots and their instructors are not allowed, something she’s never struggled with before – but as the bot’s personality becomes increasingly humanoid, she must consider whether she is cut out for her chosen career.
Lots of white and silver tell us we’re in the future, and staging is minimalistic so as to effectively adapt to each chapter. Costuming is likewise designed to not get in the way of the dialogue and story complexities, comprising neutrals and basics.
Could the set design be a bit cleaner, less crowded? Yes. Could the pacing be more consistent throughout the three chapters? Probably. But it’s weird and wacky, high-concept yet down to earth and a great night out for any lover of slightly out-there theatre.
Wine Pairing | Sustainable Wine
Given that Control looks to the future, I wanted to pair it with a wine that represents what I hope is the future of wine. Agricultural industries face increasing challenges as climate change becomes more evident, and Australian wine regions are starting to show the signs. Cool climate wines produced using sustainable methods are our best bet for a wine industry proofed for the future.
My Pick: Moores Hill 2021 Riesling, Tamar Valley, TAS
Moores Hill is a Tasmania’s first 100% solar powered, off-grid winery, and all the wines they produce are delicious! I’ve chosen their Riesling for its mingling of flavours like green apples and nectarines with petrol, reflecting the unlikely but endearing relationships forged on stage between humans and AI. Perfectly balanced in acidity, sweetness and finish, this wine is in Control.
|Aussie Season||5-30 July, New Theatre, Sydney|
|Theatre Type & Genre||Play, drama, comedy, sci-fi|
|See it if you like||science fiction, AI, stories that turn tropes on their heads|
|Other Info||Short-listed for the Patrick White Playwrights Award|
|Wine Pairing||Sustainable wine|
|Criteria for Wine Pairing||responsibly produced|