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Edinburgh Fringe 2022

Move Fast and Break Things

Freight Theatre

Genre: Devised, New Writing, Puppetry, Theatre

Venue: Summerhall Tech Cube


Low Down

Amit Patel discovered a secret hidden our data that made Google $1.7 trillion. Then he disappeared off the face of the internet. Move Fast and Break Things is a theatrical deep dive into the datasphere, using movement, live video and puppetry to tell the story of searching for the man who made Search. Freight Theatre are made up of award-winning experimental theatre makers. Move Fast and Break Things was first presented as a WIP sharing to acclaim.


“We should expose all his details” decides one of the two characters, after their arrival in the theatre is shown via CCTV on a large screen. Three decades ago, all was a bit different and Google searches were only just starting to take on the importance and level of infiltration into our lives we are aware of today. In this age of technology, surveillance and deep data mining of personal information is commonplace – and the pair want to know when, where and how it all started.

Our two female sleuths discover that one person only was apparently responsible and when they search on the Internet for information, eventually a name comes up, Amit Patel. This is where it gets very interesting – not much more comes up in the search, so Jeanie becomes intrigued and does some research on her own, which causes friction between them. Trust is important but this seems like a betrayal.

The story progresses by a variety of conversations into standing microphones downstage, where they may face the audience or each other, physical action and puppetry of beautiful visuals from small figures and objects on two tables projected onto a large screen from a hand held webcam, and the two trading off with narrative storytelling. They start the journey in Silicon Valley, California, where Google and many tech companies started and still have a presence. They take us there to the hot dry terrain and a person in boots is walking over the Silicon Valley hills, ingeniously and effectively conveyed!

“We live in fiction and myth” so what is the truth? They have a short conversation about exposing this person Amit’s life – doxxing – and is it legal? While these are heady themes there is another side to this play and that is the naturalistic and genuine interactions of the two colleagues. The character development through creative information gathering, discussing the ramifications of this problem through their different points of view is fascinating and effectively drawn with an economy of language, restrained delivery and nuanced silent looks. Some scenes involve physical movement to express meaning to drive the story forward in an abstract way, using the entire stage space and beyond.

With their technology, exquisite miniature puppets and tiny sets they lead us inside a house to see a man sitting on a sofa. In another scene we see an entire family at home. This invasion of privacy is so impactful and Freight Theatre’s performance style is so mesmerising that the result is very special.

On the company’s website it states that Freight Theatre believes that “good theatre shouldn’t stop when the show is over. A good show should follow you out the door. Back home to bed, where it keeps you up. We want to make theatre that stays with you. So we believe in telling big stories. With even bigger heart”. This production certainly does all these things!