Ginger Hibiscus | Ginger Hibiscus | The Theory of Relativity at the Drayton Arms Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | The Theory of Relativity at the Drayton Arms Theatre
Ginger Hibiscus | The Theory of Relativity at the Drayton Arms Theatre
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30 May REVIEW: The Theory of Relativity at the Drayton Arms Theatre

Science sets out to describe the nature of reality, through experimentation, prediction and observation. But what if you used the same methodology, and instead of deriving the fundamental laws of the universe, used it to understand human interactions and relationships? Like the simplest of scientific truths drawing order out of the chaos of existence. Just think. If you fire two particles at eachother in a vacuum, they will collide. Fire them at eachother across a crowded room, and who knows what will happen? What if those particles were people, and their trajectories journeys through life?

Theory of Relativity2Let’s confront this head on. Despite some cleverly quoted and convincing sounding physical theorems, the science in The Theory of Relatively has the veracity of Disney’s depiction of Pocahontas. There’s no avoiding the fact that it just doesn’t stack up; the conditions necessary for the axioms to hold are omitted in the same way that pervades self-help books like The Secret, distorting the experimentally evidenced laws into pure rhetoric intended to make a philosophical point. But since it isn’t and doesn’t pretend to be a science lesson, if you’re happy to move past that, accept that for the purpose of this show, the “theory of relativity” means simply that “everything is relative,” and treat it as an extended metaphor, then we’re onto a steady footing.

Taken as a mechanism for drawing apparently disparate stories together, relativity does work as a point of reference, holding what’s arguably more of a song cycle than a musical in the traditional sense of the word together as one cohesive piece, as well as throwing out all sorts of previously under-explored questions. Like how the micro-actions of individuals might translate into significant implications for other people, even people they’ve never met.

With next to no scenery, Grant Murphy’s barely-there choreography elegantly visualises the very different personal stories that form the spine of the show, freeing the stage of distraction as character after character take the spotlight to tell their story through song. Such are their tales that most audience members will find something in at least one of them to relate to, and will find a little bit of truth in the depiction, tumbling through a full cascade of emotions.

Featuring a unanimously talented cast of singers, including West End regular Simon Bailey and the sensational Rebekah Lowings, as well as Andrew Gallo flexing his musical muscles with some additional acoustic guitar accompaniment, the most memorable moments come when they perform as a company, in “Relativity” and “Nothing Without You,” soaring harmonies perfectly executed, un-mic’ed and filling the room in that wonderful way that only un-mic’ed voices can.

A definite formula for a funny and contemplative evening, just as you wouldn’t watch a Disney film to learn accurate history, you wouldn’t watch The Theory of Relativity to learn accurate physics. But you would watch it to hear this stunning cast sing, in a delightfully constructed production about human experience – of love, separation, attraction, collision, and, of course, relativity.

For tickets and information:
Venue: The Drayton Arms Theatre
Dates: Until 13th June 2015
Images: Poppy Carter

Star Rating

Ginger Hibiscus don’t like using stars as a headline; we think they’re too reductionist, and that decision-making based on stars misses the point of a review. Just as you wouldn’t judge a personality using a five-point scale, theatre is multi-dimensional. So have a read, and then look at the stars afterwards.
Okay, fine, but how many stars do you give it? Click here