At the heart of Autopilot is a modern queer love story. And it’s one that feels authentic in its portrayal of the ups and downs of a relationship.


This play is a two hander, well, three if you count Alexa. Autopilot follows Nic (Hannah van der Westhuysen), a freelance illustrator and Rowan (Cassie Bradley), a geospatial engineer. They meet as they are hired to work for TFL on the Elizabeth Line, we watch as they develop from friends to partners.

Underlying Olivier Award Winning writer, Ben Norris’ script, is the famous ethical dilemma of the Trolley Problem. The Trolley Problem asks the question of whether you would stay on course and kill a group of people or divert the trolley and kill one. As an ethical concept there is no easy answer and if you add in more details the dilemma can become more thought provoking. The play also weaves the development of the self-driving car throughout the superbly written script.

Autopilot is played out in non-chronological order, a design which is not easy to execute well, particularly within just an hour. Due to the scenes being short and snappy, the changes come thick and fast, and at times it was difficult to work out when this fit into the timeline. I think this could be improved with a slightly longer running time, allowing the beautiful words within the script their full impact and subtle changes so we know where in the timeline we are.

Nic has anticapitalistic views which give the impression of someone born into privilege. Nic also refuses to turn the heating on and buys the expensive peanut butter as its more eco conscious. Norris’ script shows how a relationship evolves, how two people learn to compromise and take on each other’s beliefs and opinions at times. We see later Rowan frustrated at Nic for having the heating on, even though she hasn’t put a jumper on yet.

The chemistry between Bradley and van der Westhuysen Is undeniable, I was invested very quickly within the relationship of Nic and Rowan. Both give strong emotive performances throughout the show.

Norris’ writing is sensational, it’s beautifully complex and metaphorical, peppered with humour and tenderly showcases an authentically portrayed queer relationship. Autopilot may require some concentration, but you certainly won’t want to miss a second.

Rating: 4 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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