FRINGE 2016: THEATRE – To Space – Holden Street Theatres – 3K

Part lecture, part autobiography, part science experiment, this show provides exactly what it says on the box – or more accurately, in the publicity releases. Dr Niamh Shaw is an engaging speaker, clearly knowledgeable about science, space, and the complexities of life. She is the type of person you are lucky to have as your teacher at school or uni; presenting the facts in a stylish and interesting manner, interjecting suitable personal ruminations, and brimming with enthusiasm for the subjects covered.

Some may find the structure of the show a little mundane, as it is more like a scientific presentation rather than a traditional play. Projections of personal diary entries, photographs and paintings do add a certain uniqueness to the production, however not all of the pictures used are especially impactful and there didn’t seem to be a discernible theme or aesthetic linking them together. The inclusion of personal stories adds an empathetic aspect to the show, which reminds us that though in the grand scheme of things we are no more than a speck of dust in the cosmos, our dreams are still worth pursuing.

The greatest audience for this show would likely be students in their final years of high school; young minds that are deciding what their future may hold, and for whom the message that you don’t always have to stick to the first career you choose will be important. Having said that, the piece also reminds us that sometimes opportunities can pass us by, whether because of a fear of the unknown, a feeling of entrapment or commitment to other things, or simply through becoming distracted by life. In the end, Shaw leaves us with a feeling of hope, but this isn’t a blindly optimistic conclusion, it’s one that while asking for a belief in the unlikely also recognised the realities of life.

Kryztoff rating: 3K

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