My Theatre

11 August 2016

Ctrl Alt Delete at the Camden People’s Theatre

By // Theatre (London)

Emma Packer, credit David Packer 1.

photo by David Packer

As the lights come on and the audience listens to Emma Packer onstage, it

is clear from the very start that Ctrl Alt Delete will be a great show. Emma is the only actor yet she embodies different characters that make the show come to life. We hear the 10-year-old speaking of her imaginary friend Ben or of her best friend Simone; as an adult, she reminisces of days she would spend by the water with her grandfather. The only moments when she felt happy were around him. Later, we hear the mother explaining her anger and hatred felt towards her daughter. Emma Packer’s performance is absolutely outstanding. She keeps audiences engaged until the end. Her accents and her mannerisms change and she becomes another person. There is real emotion in her performance and the work she has done in both writing and acting is remarkable. Thankfully, the lighting also helps everyone to clearly understand the scene or character changes.

The play brings up the subject of domestic violence. At times, it is rather roughgoing to listen to; not many people enjoy these kinds of anecdotes. Visually, no violence takes place but the pain is felt in the room. Everyone in the room can sense the punches, the insults and the tears. The theme of love is present but ironically, there is rarely any love felt. While this is a sad story, it does not leave spectators sad and gloomy at the end. On the contrary, it tries to give hope for a better world. As the story comes to an end, Packer begins to speak of major world events that are triggered by an amalgamation of lies, from Brexit to the war on terror. Some may not enjoy this more activist side of the production as it takes away from the simple premise of the play. But it strives to send out a wider message than that of the play. Love and respect wins in every context. Ctrl Alt Delete is not on for long and will not be forgotten.

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