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Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking - Fringe review 2014 bySarahAgnew

Albert Einstein: Relativitively Speaking, Company: Tangram Theatre Company,
Venue: The Old Courtroom, Category: Theatre
15-18 May 18:00 £8 (£6) [1hr]

Expressive, verbose und German speaking. The year is 1933, location Princeton University US of A and we are students in the lecture theatre. We, the audience represent a diverse range of ages. Sat next to us was, to my untrained eye an eight year old boy who sat forward engrossed for the whole show. To our right sat a large proportion of men of mid to older years and at the front were some older ladies too. It was really great to see a show that appealed to such a varied group of people. Interestingly, I would say the audience was perhaps smarter than your average bunch. When our Professor asked us what was Nobel famous for there was a general hum of answers. Perhaps that's to be expected at a show about Albert Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity. I took along my own expert, Astrophysics Al, having studied the subject at University I was interested to know what she would make of it. 'It's a very dry subject, I never laughed in any of my lectures and people laughed throughout the show, that's got to be a good thing' she said, I nodded in agreement.

Assisted by his wife Elsa, aka Jo Eagle on the keyboard Albert sang us a song about being in America ending with a medley of popular US songs. Jo's playing was absolutely brilliant and the song was really enjoyable, although the medley part less so. I think I really have a thing against medleys, so that's me not them. The energetic and charismatic Albert (actor John Hinton) encouraged audience participation and his amiable approach seemed to make the participants feel at ease. A couple of audience members came on stage to help explain Einstein's Special Theory of Relativity leading to an explanation I could grasp as well as a lot of laughs along the way. Astro Al considered the explanation as good as it can get without using equations.

Just as we had, kind of, become adjusted to Einstein's thick accent and the rapidity with which he spoke, he turns around with a cap squashing his crazy hair and starts to rap. This is actually really funny, especially when MC Squared persuades about 80% of the audience to follow the hand gestures to accompany the chorus of E equals M C squared. To watch young and old trying to grapple with this and keep up with the rap showed the audience's willingness to join in.

We moved forward in time, learning about Nobel as well as the atomic bomb when we had a song lamenting the loss of 200,000 souls, which was appropriately draped in pathos.  The show ended when we reached Einstein's death but not before we met his own talking brain puppet.  Yes that really did happen.

It's great to have such a mix of incongruous themes - physics, comedy, music and Albert Einstein, especially as it was aimed at such a broad range of people.  This is lots of fun, it's silly, informative with two great performers Jo Eagle and John Hinton.

Sarah Agnew - follow on Twitter @IrishAggers

The Old Courtroom, Brighton

John Hinton and Jo Eagle

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