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Review: Sex with Robots and Other Devices, at Kings Head Theatre

Darkly funny vignettes pose philosophical questions about sex and technology

24 May, 2018 — By Billie Manning

Isaura Barbe-Brown in Sex with Robots and Other Devices. Photo: Nicholas Brittain

IN this Black Mirror-esque series of vignettes, Nessah Muthy explores the effect that our march towards ever-more sophisticated artificial intelligence might have on sexual relationships.

This is certainly something the world is already thinking about – in fact, it might seem like most of the world is already trying to build a “sex-bot”, if you watch enough TLC documentaries.

Through each separate, explorative and often darkly funny snapshot, Muthy asks enough philosophical questions to give Jean Paul Sartre a headache. Would a robot designed for sex encourage or diminish the prevalence of gendered abuse? Can AI consent? What is sentience, anyway?

The three actors (Isaura Barbe-Brown, Deshaye Gayle and Eleri Jones) take on an impressive 17 roles between them, a feat each accomplishes with swift and sometimes striking transformations. Barbe-Browne is particularly good as both robot and human, and a standout scene includes a chilling turn from Jones who frightens her partner with the sadism she displays towards a robot.

The only let-down is the slightly incongruous ending, which comes off as a bit of a Blade Runner cliché, but the scenes are complete enough that this doesn’t really matter. Turn off TLC and get to the

King’s Head if you want to start asking yourself some (really) uncomfortable questions about the future of sex.

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