Title Review: Hidden, The Horsfall, Ancoats, Manchester Degree of recognition National Media name/outlet Northern Soul Media type Web Country/Territory United Kingdom Date 7/02/17 Description I am infuriatingly punctual. I can’t bear tardiness which means I’m usually left standing outside in the cold, or at the bar, waiting for others to show up.
So when I arrive at The Horsfall (a new venue and creative programme dedicated to improving young people’s health and wellbeing) and see a note tacked to one of the windows directing those who’ve come to see Hidden, an immersive play, to the entrance of Ancoats General Shop, my heart sinks. For 15 minutes I wait, the wind causing my hair to stick out like Medusa, until a soft-spoken girl asks me if I’m there for the show and if I’d like to wait inside.
Ancoats General Store is more coffee shop than local Co-Op, and it a welcome relief from the bitter night. I chat to some of the other audience members, feeling all the while like I’m not entirely sure what’s going on. The awkwardness is like osmosis.
Despite these teething problems, I’m looking forward to the show. During my time with the creative producer Julie McCarthy a few days previously, I’d seen first-hand just how much hard work, dedication and skill had been channelled into proceedings. As we waited for the photographer to arrive, McCarthy had explained that Hidden would explore ideas about the future of care and the introduction of Artificial Intelligence. As a technophobe (I refused to get a smart phone until I was 25) it got my mind racing. Would it be a kindly, intelligent being like Robin Williams’ Bicentennial Man? Scarily realistic like in TV’s Humans? Or plunge us into a dystopian society straight out of I, Robot?
The premise of the play is immensely clever. The show is set on the day after tomorrow, in a world where empathetic care robots are available to all. The audience are cast as board members, reviewing the archive of a ten-year experiment to decide which robot would provide the best care.
Producer/Author Emma Yates-Bradley Persons Linda O'Keeffe