Every so often you come across a show that is pure theatrical brilliance. Witty, hilarious, sad, relatable and performed with delicious tragicomic timing, Sadie Clark’s “Algorithms” is quite simply one of the best shows of 2021. It’s not surprising that the play had a sell-out run at the Edinburgh Fringe in 2019 and went on to win the TV Foundation’s ‘Stage to Screen’ New Voice Award in 2020.
Brooke is facing the milestone of her 30th birthday amid the debris of the sudden failure of her relationship, leaving her with nothing but Amira’s dying succulents. She wants and desperately needs a new person in her life – hopefully hooking up before her birthday party so she can show her mother she has a date – and uses the services of the online dating company she works for as an algorithm writer. She should know the mechanics of attraction, but a series of disastrous dates bring her to the realisation that she is the common denominator for her relationship problems. Maybe she’s just not good enough? Should she try harder to be a different person? Why is she lonely in a world more connected than ever before? Full of existential angst and fuelled by the tyranny of comparing herself to the apparently successful lives of her contemporaries as she anxiously scrolls through their Instagram accounts, bisexual Brooke is Bridget Jones updated for a new generation, but remaining relatable to all ages.
Madelaine Moore’s direction is nuanced, making full use of Clark’s fantastic performance skills. The sound design by Nicola Chang adds the perfect, underplayed interjections of text and social media notifications that everyone now recognises.
Clark’s vibrant personality and writing indicate an amazing future for this exciting new talent. This production of “Algorithms” has been supported by the National Lottery through Arts Council England. Don’t miss it!
Running only until Saturday, 11th December, tickets are available from: https://sohotheatre.com/shows/algorithms-3/
Reviewer: Carole Gordon
Reviewed: 7th December 2021
North West End UK Rating: ★★★★★