4/5 Stars

Harrowing, Haunting and Wholly Deserving of ★★★★★

ctrl alt del 2CTRL + ALT + DEL is a completely captivating one woman performance that juxtaposes national struggles with the domestic.

Extremely thought provoking, CTRL + ALT + DEL explores the impact that lies from various authorities – societal, governmental and the assumed authorities children are subjected to at home – has on a young life.

Emma Packer moves seamlessly from addressing the audience as Amy Jones at various stages of her young life, to addressing the audience as Amy’s aggressive and unstable mother. In an amazing performance, Packer takes the audience on a journey of growing political and personal awareness, as well as highlighting current societal failings which impact on the generations that grow up in amongst them.

The audience member could be fooled into viewing this play as a coming-of-age type narrative as we follow Amy through the factious years of her life, from the tender ages of five into her teens.

The political thread, however, which juxtaposes national hypocrisy and global deceit with the private war of domestic abuse being waged in Amy’s home, makes this play feel more a journey of perspective. A broken system vs a broken home type reflection.

For most, the concept of an unloving and actively destructive mother is fortunately an alien one. The relatively unique situation, however, only serves to highlight Amy’s isolation, a fact that director Katherine Hayes plays on by setting Amy on a largely empty stage. A lonely figure in a lonely state.

The use of direct address usually serves to draw the audience in and create a stronger bond with the character addressing them. In CTRL + ALT + DEL, however, the direct address does more. It leaves you pondering the question Amy asks, bewildered…

“How can some people chance the world in their lifetimes, and some people can’t even admit when they’re wrong?”

Harrowing, haunting and wholly deserving of 5 stars.

Reviewer: Harriet Bignell

CTRL + ALT + DEL plays until August 16th as part of The Camden Fringe

Categories: 4/5 Stars, review

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