Assisted is billed as “new writing/sci-fi”. Jordan and Connie are embarking on a new romance and everything is ” rosey”. Things are becoming serious when Jordan asks her to move in with him. Discussions about children and plans begin quite soon into the relationship.
Jordan is desperately striving for perfection and by using his household voice assistant AI Alivia he constantly checks in with her to make sure everything in his life is running to an unobtainable level. This particular concept may be closer to reality than we would like to admit.
Connie’s every move starts to be monitored, questioned and criticised by Jordan through the help of Alivia. When she wants to enjoy a relaxing glass of wine a full breakdown of the effects on her body is disturbing. The entire toxic three-way relationship would probably destroy the relationship much sooner than it does.
Whether Jordan’s behaviour is bought on through his unhealthy obsession with Alivia or he is naturally controlling is never fully ascertained as the play develops.
Sadly, the trigger warnings that should I felt should have been advertised with this production are missing. I found the strong themes around coercive control and domestic abuse jarring and uncomfortable. Challenging audiences is exactly what Fringe productions should be doing. However, please give them the informed option as to whether they wish to sit through these scenes or not.
Assisted provides a stark warning about the future development of AI machines and the detrimental effects it could have on our mental health and relationships.
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