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The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs (Bristol)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
With Marmite, you either love it or hate it. It is a black and white issue and rarely are there fence sitters. With Apple Mac products, there are sub-categories: Love, Hate, Crave, and Drool. Whatever the reaction, you can be sure it will create a buzz.

Mike Daisey has capitalized upon the Jobs/Apple bandwagon and has written a one man show that has generated enough reaction to rival its subject.

The show itself promises that it will make you question everything you know about the man (Steve Jobs), the corporation (Apple) and the whole world of electronics. Told from the point of view of one man (played here by Grant O’Rourke), he takes care of Love/Hate/Crave/Drool all in one go. A self-confessed Mac fan, he takes you to the source of the world of electronics: Zhengzhou, the capital of Henan province in China. A Metropolis O’Rourke describes as a city, “that looks like Blade Runner has thrown up over itself”, it is the home of villain of the evening, Foxconn – the company that makes, basically, everything electrical that you own. Known as the high rise complex that has nets hanging from the building to catch potential suicides, the evening takes a darker tone once we get into the nitty gritty of when, where and how our products are made.

Condemned and celebrated in equal measure, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is a show that sets out to mix things up. In most cases it succeeds in bucket loads. O’Rourke’s performance is laden with charm, geekish panache and substance. His energy takes charge of the evening and we are always safe in his hands. As a subject matter, it does tread a very fine line between theatre and lecture circuit material but just as you are beginning to think he may be about to launch into a lecture, he pulls it back just in time.

Always engaging, often shocking and sometimes hilarious, The Agony and Ecstasy of Steve Jobs is guaranteed to keep tongues wagging long after the house lights go up and is sure to go down as one of the more captivating performances of 2013.