THIS is not only a York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre show but a first intergenerational collaboration with a not-so-youthful group of York community actors.

Burgeoning performers aged 16 to 19 are working with actors aged 65-plus, plenty of them –Rory Mulvihill, Maggie Smales, Noel Stabler and Bill Laverick, for example – familiar from past shows in the city and here lending their experience to a cast learning the ropes, while feeding off their youthful energy.

Legacy is also the youth theatre's first main house commission: "a luxury" according to director Kate Veysey, which is why a run of only four performances leaves this ground-breaking production a little short changed because it warrants more performances.

Especially when you consider the hi-tech craft of Bethany Wells's design and the prescience of a play with newly increased topicality, now that Cambridge Analytica and Facebook founder Mark Zuckerberg are making the headlines, Zuckerberg's Congressional testimony being all the talk this week.

Technology is at the core of Birch's premiere, accompanied by an amusing Young Vs Old set of questions in the programme on what technology means to them and, crucially, the effect it has.

On the one hand, there is Shirley Williams's old-school police detective, Simone Macdonald, putting her trust in traditional detecting skills when a boy's body is discovered on the river bank, only to learn that the boy "doesn't exist". Simone is experiencing "old-fashioned" problems too: she is on medication, her relationship with the overbearing, needy Ben (Peter Warner) draining her, her work so often in the way too.

York Press:

Augmented reality: Adam Kane's Axis spins out of control in Legacy. Picture: Shaun Conway

On the other hand, rising political star Arisha Adler (Noreen Thorp), the Justice Minister with her sights on Number 10 and a blue wardrobe and handbag redolent of a certain Margaret, is keen to embrace all the possibilities of the digital age to erase her past for the perfect profile for our next Prime Minister.

To do so, like Faustus, she sells her soul, her Mephistopheles being Phillip Blackthorn (Ian Giles), the evasive Big Brother-style founder of Legacy, a tech company that offers Identity Services with the motto of "We will change what we do. We will change who we are. We will change...everyone".

Legacy's legacy will be to change everything, forever, and in this age of fake news, alternative facts, guerilla journalism, blogs seemingly outside the law's reach, and election and referendum campaigns subject to outside influence, the corruptive, malign power of technology is already having an impact.

What of the young? Veysey's ensemble players reel off the statistics on the impact of mobile phones, their omnipresence, the obsessive way young people "doctor" their profiles in pursuit of an idealised perfection. Rising talent Adam Kane's Axis, meanwhile is a cult YouTuber with his own channel, preaching love, but seeking extreme thrills in Legacy's new toy, the Legacy Box, that offers Augmented Reality: a form of Virtual Reality with all too real extras with terrible consequences.

"We just wanted everything to be perfect," say Legacy. A forlorn wish, of course, and how apt that this highly thought-provoking production is certainly good, well acted, smartly directed and designed, but not perfect either.

And what will be the legacy of Legacy? Hopefully York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre will stretch its horizons again by making new work with fellow York actors. 

Legacy, York Theatre Royal Youth Theatre, York Theatre Royal, tonight at 7pm; tomorrow, 2pm and 7pm. Box office: 01904 623568 or at