REVIEW: CTRL+ALT+DELETE, Camden People’s Theatre

Emma Packer’s one woman show asks if the very foundation of our society is based on lies? If so what can we do to change it? 

Emma Packer, credit David Packer 4.
Emma Packer.Photograph credit: David Packer.

It truly is amazing how even one hour in a theatre can really change your perspective of life and society. Emma Packer’s one woman show packs a punch not only because of the issues it brings up but also in the matter-of-fact way in which it is delivered.

Amy Jones is someone who is very politically minded, constantly writing letters to Nelson Mandela and a character who wants to change the world. Except she has problems closer to home to have to cope with – a difficult and increasingly intense relationship with her mother.

CTRL+ALT+DELETE is fascinating to watch because although on the surface it is a one woman show, playing two opposite sides to the story, there is also a sense of collective responsibility for the audience to take something away from the show to use to make their own change in the world.

Emma Packer as Amy reveals a character with compassion, passion and a sense of purpose, despite her difficult mother, who treats her with contempt. It is a play that is about memory as much as anything, from the fun times Amy had with her granddad to the horror of her relationship with her mother.

To watch Packer transform into this completely different character, a Jekyll and Hyde act in a way, is shocking and horrific, making the audience wonder how Amy has grown up with such a level head. Although her mother as portrayed here is a monster with a lack of compassion, it is made clear at the end why she is this way (a tragedy in her past that she didn’t cope well with) – but had this been mentioned at a different point it would have perhaps made the audience understand her a bit more. As it is, this side of her character is not explored as much as it could have.

Which leads to the main issue with the play. Everything feels slightly disjointed structurally, moving from one topic to the next without exploring ideas fully – particularly when it references the London riots and the war on terrorism, attempting to make the point that the world needs more compassion and honesty – an argument made that could have been stronger.

However, there is no denying the passion and the energy of the piece which exposes lies and secrets to make it a compelling watch. With a little more work on the structure and detail on some of the ideas, this could be one of the most refreshingly honest pieces of drama to hit the stage for a long time.

Ctrl+Alt+Delete is performing at the Camden People’s Theatre as part of the Camden Fringe Festival. For more information visit: or to book tickets visit:

Rating: ❤❤❤❤




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