Machines for Living (3 stars)

This article is from 2012

Machines for Living

Perky, admirable Fringe debut from promising young company

‘Writing about music,’ Frank Zappa famously said, ‘is like dancing about architecture.’ Well, there’s plenty of the latter in Let Slip’s perky Fringe debut: a goofy, spoofish critique of the Brutalist ideal that gradually caked Britain’s cities in concrete from the 1960s onwards.

Newlywed architects Roger and Wendy have a dream: ‘to create homes fit for heroes’; high-rise havens of 20th century living, purpose-built for convenience and community. It can’t last, of course. Ego kicks in and Roger’s buildings reach Icarus-like for the sky: monuments as opposed to homes.

This is JG Ballard via The Mighty Boosh, all couched in Fritz Lang’s Metropolis. Warped weirdos – all performed with admirable comic gusto – creep out of the concrete. But there’s also brainpower alongside the buffoonery, and Let Slip brilliantly skewer the empty lifestyle slogans imposed by aspirational consumerism (‘Regeneration for a new generation’).

It’s still a tad uneven and fragile, but Machines For Living shows real promise and marks Let Slip out as a young company with that rare thing: a distinctive voice.

Zoo, 662 6892, until 27 Aug (not 21), 3.30pm, £10 (£8).

Machines for Living

  • 3 stars

Reclaim the heavens! Cities in the sky! Concrete solutions!' Two architects move into the tower block they have designed - engineered to encourage kinship and social harmony. Can their marriage survive as the building degenerates and the blame falls on them? How will they fare cuddling up to cockroaches and coming up with…

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