The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs tells the story of the man behind one of the world’s biggest products and his rise to success. But we also see a harrowing side of the story, with tales about an investigation in the Apple factories in China, where hundreds of thousands of workers are slaving away to make the famous products.
It can start to feel really dull before you have even entered the theatre. A lone man speaking on stage for 80 minutes? It would take such a special actor and story to hold my attention for so long. Do not let that fear take over, though, because once Edward Fromson takes the stage, you just do not want to take your eyes off him.
With no fancy stage design or other actors to help him, Fromson has to be demanding from the get go and he does that so wonderfully. He is cool, calm and collected throughout, even telling the stories of the horror of the Foxconn factories. It could have been very easy to go down the other dramatic route, but director Nasser Memarzia keeps it underplayed instead, and executes this very well.
I will admit that this play is definitely not for the type of person who has a short attention span. It is very easy to trail off with a one-man show. At the beginning, we see the performer building up the story, talking about tales of hackers and Apple nerds, but it is not until you get to the bits where he describes the factories and Steve Jobs’s reign at Apple that staying with the play finally pays off.
You do start to wonder just how much truth is behind the story, but in reality the play is not saying that it is true, but it is making us think about the consuming of Apple products. There is a moment in the play where they talk about the Apple nerds, who wait for the latest products and have to have everything Apple because their whole life revolves around it. As I left the theatre, I grabbed my iPod and checked my iPhone to see if I had any messages… that is when the story of the play really hit me.
The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs is a bit slow to begin with, but with a fantastic performer and the small crew working together, they have managed to create something quite magical. But not is it only credit to them, but also Waterloo East Theatre for putting on such a bold piece.
The Agony And The Ecstasy Of Steve Jobs is playing at Waterloo East Theatre til 23 February. Visit www.waterlooeast.co.uk for more info.