FRINGE 2018 THEATRE – John Hinton’s Scientrilogy – HST – 4.5K

scaled_John_Hinstons_Scrienlogy_Albert_Einstein_Alexander Ewers

Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking is one of a suite of plays constituting John Hinton’s Scientrilogy. Each focusing on a ground-breaking moment in the history of scientific discovery, Hinton’s shows endeavour to explore and explain through the medium of comedy, some of the more scholastically and cerebrally challenging concepts in the realms of science.

Albert EInstiein: Relativitively Speaking. Little elaboration is needed. Hinton weaves a chronicle of insights and anecdotes from the life of the great theorist, scientist and savant, interspersed with hilarious but wonderfully perspicuous explanations of arguably his most famous theorem. The roaming dialogue is not limited to content biographical and academic, but also provokes contemplation of the abstruse. He touches on topics ranging from the synergism (sometimes revolutionary, sometimes calamitous) between scientific discovery and societal pressures, to the cardinal importance of fostering creativity and an inquiring mind in one’s youth.  Employing techniques worthy of the best professor, Hinton engages faculties both visual and aural, adroitly employing audience participation to demonstrate the most indigestible concepts, and recoursing to a Gilbert-and-Sullivanesque libretto to maintain momentum through the more narrative moments. In this he is adeptly supported by stage partner Jo Eagle on keyboard, herself playing the role of three important women in Einstein’s life: his mother, and his wives Mileva and Elsa.

Hinton’s performance is at once magnetically captivating and compellingly believable, a product of dynamic stage mastery and a firm grounding in well-researched historicity. A born performer… or maybe a born teacher… perhaps the two are necessarily one and the same. And indeed, Hinton captures the ingredients that make education entertaining, and entertainment enlightening.

Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking climaxes with a devastatingly powerful and unexpected turn to the sombre. The “200,000 souls” number marks a sudden shift in tone and energy, in which Einstein grapples with the awful outworking of his discoveries as realized at Hiroshima and Nagasaki. Juxtaposed against the 45 minutes of light-hearted comedy preceding, this emotionally charged transition has composure-shattering effect, occasioning more than one moist eye in the audience. Einstein contemplates the unthinkable, more topical in today’s climate than ever before.

“With what weaponry will World War Three be fought?”, he asks.

The rejoinder is spine-chilling.

“With what weaponry will World War Four be fought? …. Sticks and stones.”

The measure of a good performance is its ability to take one on a journey. And John Hinton does just that! Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking is a journey through time and space, through history and science, and along an emotional rollercoaster of laughs and lessons. It is physics distilled. Schooling made alive. It is theatre!

Kryztoff Rating 4.5K

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