Minority Report

The world of AI is more prominent than ever in our daily news headlines at the moment and is a very interesting and worrying subject for many.  Minority Report propels us almost 30 years into the future, where AI is firmly rooted in day-to-day life, however, does it assist or hinder the human race?

You may be familiar with the 2002 hit film starring Tom Cruise where a specialised police department can predict crimes before they occur, thanks to "pre-cogs" - individuals with precognitive abilities.   Chief among these officers is Julia Anderton, who becomes the target of her own department's prediction when she's accused of a future murder. As she races against time to clear her name, Anderton uncovers a conspiracy that challenges the very foundation of the pre-crime system.

This stage production written by David Haig translates so well for a live audience, offering up a thrilling, fast-paced and suspenseful piece of drama, where the straight through play of 90 minutes flies by. 

Our protagonist, Julia Anderton is played by Jodie McNee who hardly ever leaves the stage throughout the duration of the show.  The role is physical, dramatic and insightful, qualities that McNee has in abundance.  I found myself hanging on her every word and rooting for her as the story progressed. The show opens with McNee breaking the fourth wall and speaking to the audience as if we were in her lecture discussing the benefits of ‘pre-crime’ technology.  Ably assisted by her AI companion David (Tanvi Virmani) I felt hooked from the get-go and the onstage action was non-stop.

The staging by Production Designer Jon Bausor saw exceptional use of video technology throughout, increasing the tension and being used as a tool for explaining how ‘pre-crime’ worked with the human brain featuring extensively. I felt as though I had been transported into the future and that this was the norm…..I wonder if it will be?!  Lighting by Jessica Hung Han Yun also added many layers to this production and was paramount during the more dramatic and busy scenes as Anderton tried to avoid capture.  There were many impressive fight sequences thanks to Fight Directors Rachel Bown-Williams and Ruth Cooper-Brown of RC-Annie Ltd.  These moments flowed well and appeared very realistic.

There were a few moments when the props appeared on stage slightly after the performers had walked on and commenced a scene, which felt slightly messy and avoidable.  I’m sure this can be rectified, but it did detract slightly on occasion.

In summary, Minority Report gives us a glimpse into the future and what it might hold.  Can we all live in a society where no crime is committed but be accused of a crime purely through our thoughts.  It’s an interesting concept and played out very well by the full cast, giving us all food for thought.

This show was reviewed on the 26th March 2024 at Birmingham REP where it runs until the 6th April 2024.  Tickets available here: Minority Report | Birmingham Rep (birmingham-rep.co.uk)

Check your local listings for future touring dates.

Review written by Emma Rowley

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Photo credit: Marc Brenner

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