"To Kill A Machine"
It has been noted that the cavernous foyer/cafe-bar of the recently redeveloped Sherman Cymru could do double duty as an airport departure lounge. As it turned out, though, it was an excellent forum for a showcase performance of "To Kill A Machine", Catrin Fflur Huws' take on the unhappy life and death of pioneering computer scientist Alun Turing; the first offering from Scriptography Productions, a company formed by Aberystwyth's new writing community. Featuring a compelling, Aspergers-inflected performance by Gwidion Rhys as the tortured hero, the piece presents scenes from Turing's life as mathematics obsessive, WWII code-breaker and pre-legality gay man, interspersed with elements of a fantasy game-show based on the Turing Test (in which the task is to distinguish artificial from human intelligence). The cast (also consisting of Ceri Murphy, Gareth John Bale, Thomas Middler and Stephen Marzella) negotiated a fearsomely intelligent script and a busy set (dominated by a complex metallic construction - a tree of knowledge?) with great skill, cleverly marshalled by director Angharad Lee. The subject has been more than ably tackled before (most notably in Hugh Whitemore's "Breaking The Code"), and there is a conspiracy theory aspect of the plot which seems superfluous; but both play and production are highly impressive, boding well for the future of what appears to be an ambitious new company.