Adam Lenson Productions have been supporting new British musicals constantly through the past few months, and now they present a “new digital musical” Shift+Alt+Right by Hilmi Jaidin.
I did expect it to be more of a musical that it actually is, a forty-five minute running time could perhaps showcase more song, less chat. We first meet Jay at his computer. He is a gamer and a loner. When he is contacted by Shadow (we only hear his voice) his insular world takes a curious turn.
I felt that Jadin’s work – showcased in some technical wizardry of multiple windows, video calls, and vlogs – had a lot of potential but it isn’t quite there yet. The characters of Jay and his sister Addy are not as developed as the story demands given the concerns they have about their shared and solo pasts.
It was also slightly frustrating to feel removed from the plot. Who was Shadow and why did he rake up memories of Nadine from a decade past? Was Nadine really who Jay thought she was? Why did he react so strongly and intensely at a mere mention of her?
Although the few songs were perfectly fine and delivered well by Max Alexander-Taylor as Jay, I had to wonder why they were there (inside thoughts?) and why they were such a contradiction to the young man we saw unravelling during this show. Why does no other character sing?
There is a lot in Shift+Alt+Right to unpick, but it certainly has a story in this which possibly needs just a slightly longer running time to tease out. The ending begs for some form of resolution – or are we to assume Jay adds to the long list of statistics regarding men and depression?
Produced and directed by Adam Lenson, Shift+Alt+Right was streamed live earlier this week and the recording streamed twice today. Joanna Clarke, Ashley Goh and Andrew Langtree play Addy, Nadine and Shadow respectively and Jaidin is joined in the band by Dan Giles, Nathan Gregory and Curtis Volp.