My Brother the Robot (4 stars)

This article is from 2013

My Brother the Robot

Futuristic family fun

The technology in Tall Stories’ new show may seem far-fetched, but with robotic carers for the elderly already in development, it’s closer than you think.

Little Bobby lives alone with her father in the year 2042, eating fish and chips from a capsule, being home educated by a robot, and only leaving the house every couple of weeks. At first she seems thrilled with her lot, playing on her ‘net goggles’ for hours on end, with the 500 friends she has online.

But the desire for real company, in the form of a baby brother, leads Bobby’s inventor father to create R4, a robot that learns anything you teach it. Cue lots of fun playing catch and tig, followed by less welcome mess when Bobby forgets to teach R4 (or ‘Arthur’ as she re-names him) not to break things.

There are some subtle, and not so subtle, messages in this entertaining new show – and all of them give you pause for thought. More than a few parents will recognise the line ‘I’ll play with you when I’ve finished working’, in response to Bobby’s plea for attention. And with iPad’s recently called ‘digital dummies’ by one education specialist, our fears about technology replacing human interaction seem well-founded. There’s also a nice message for older siblings in the audience, about helping younger ones to learn right from wrong.

But as you would expect from the team that brought us The Gruffalo, Room on the Broom and many more Fringe hits, My Brother the Robot delivers on a number of levels, with strong characterisation, lively performances and catchy tunes all in strong supply.

Pleasance Courtyard, 556 6550, until 25 Aug (not 14), 2.55pm, £8–£10 (£7–£9).

My Brother the Robot

  • 4 stars

When Bobbie tells her inventor dad that she's lonely, he gets to work to build her a little robot brother. A new show combining humour, music and storytelling from Tall Stories, recommended for ages 3+.