Spin! – Assembly Roxy

Written & Directed by Catriona MacLeod

Set & Costume Design by Kenneth MacLeod

Rating: 4 out of 5.

Careful of where you air your dirty laundry: someone, or something, might just be able to tell a thing or two about you.

In a world in which the thunderously transformative and evolving capabilities of artificial intelligence increase almost daily, Catriona MacLeod’s small-scale touring production Spin!, co-produced by Mull Theatre (An Tobar) and Vanishing Point Unplugged, begins to unpick the world of immediacy and ease we’ve been living luxuriously in, we’ve been too preoccupied to realise the boundaries of the conscious seems to be waning… 

Each day the paranoia instilled in our concerns over devices grows, MacLeod’s script takes this to additional levels, raising genuine and distressing questions about the extent to which we would allow our devices to listen, watch, and infiltrate into our lives: the illusion of privacy is all but eradicated in Spin! As SuperMax 3000 (Max for shorthand), Pauline’s spanking-new state-of-the-art washing machine can do everything from freshening the delicates to ensuring those vintage clothes receive the proper treatment. It might just also be able to figure Pauline out better than any man ever could. 

Mixing their lights and darks, Louise Haggerty’s authentic vulnerability and even more unhinged moments serve as a terrific exploration of MacLeod’s narrative of a woman undergoing her detached isolation and solitude as the world automates around. It’s an embracement of the surreal from MacLeod’s direction, entirely gunning for the Kubrick-vibe of sophisticated technology taking a firm-wired grip of the human elements they’ve long been unfamiliar with.

The omnipotent presence of Andrew Keay’s Max belays a far more sinister presence as the gaslighting stand-in for abusive and controlling partners. He wants to know all of Pauline’s movements, her friends, and her schedules – even control of her phone. It’s all too familiar and unsettling, as is both Keay and MacLeod’s ability to illustrate the appealing nature Keay brings, and how in Pauline’s isolated life would rely on Max so much, his understanding of her situation, and that temptation – even under the refined, detached persona.

Seeking some form of comfort away from the dead-end career, and the even more dead-ended relationships, Pauline is like any in the audience in seeking someone, anything, with which to express their thoughts and desires. This latest entry into Vanishing Point’s ‘Unplugged’ series of touring productions acts as an amusing comedic piece while stoking genuine and sincere warnings. What first appears almost comedic routine cuts with a darker undertone, MacLeod’s piece delivering more than enough to satiate audiences and stoke hopes for another tour down the line, but may have audiences digging out their nan’s washing boards for fear of what the Max’s of the world could unleash.

Genuine and Sincere Warning

Spin! next tours to Catstrand, New Galloway on April 11th. Running time – one hour and ten minutes without interval.
Information relating to the show’s additional dates, and Vanishing Point’s other productions may be obtained here.
Photo Credit – Eilidh Cameron


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