Cherwell

It’s Love at First Science

Despite knowing that this production was being revived after rave reviews and a sell-out run, I was slightly puzzled as to how physics could be intriguing. Yet right from the first scene it is impossible not become bewitched by the mystery exuded by this play. With World War II as its backdrop, the play is unsurprisingly intense. It has numerous levels, and although on the surface the subject matter may be physics, one soon realises that science also serves to describe the emotional relationships in the play, as the complexity of the science matched by the complexity of the play’s structure. Time and place are fluid and constantly changing, and whilst it is sometimes hard to keep up, it is soon apparent that such details are irrelevant. In fact, the minimalist set (consisting of one coloured spotlight) and the lack props and general detail produces a flowing rhythm and leaves room for the play’s more fundamental issues. Moreover, the quick-moving pace allows for variety, although the overall subject matter is dark, there are lighter interludes. The production is stunningly directed by Prasanna Puwanarajar, who also plays the cool and quick thinking Heisenberg, who locked in a challenging conflict between physics and morality. His portrayal provides a gripping contrast with Colin Burnie’s older, more volatile Bohr who is threatened and terrified by his colleague’s new ideas. Chloë Reddaway plays a down-to-earth and humanitarian Margarethe, a neutralising influence between the men and their opposing attitudes. The script is ingenious, the story compelling and the acting extremely accomplished. If you were unlucky enough to miss this production the first time round, then do not make the mistake again. This frighteningly topical play is brilliant.
ARCHIVE: 2nd Week TT 2003