By: John Hinton
Director: Carolina Ortega
What does it mean to be human? Award winning science-singer-songwriter John Hinton has had a go at distilling what it means to him in twenty six comedic and educational songs, covering such topics as the anatomy, evolution, habits, quirks, storytelling, family and much more. .
Loudly greeting the audience and bounding onto the stage with an energy that the Duracell Bunny would be envious of, Hinton starts the show. It is an infectious vibe those gathered cannot ignore; this is going to be a fun hour.
Helping Hinton guide us through the alphabet of the Human from A-Z, is his irreverent animated companion Imaginaut, who often hectors and harries Hinton in humorous ways to push the show along.
Soon we are listening to the first three songs, A, B and C of the Ensonglopedia taking us through conception, birth and childhood. All the compositions are funny and catchy, as well as being rigorously scientifically peer reviewed for the accuracy of their information.
While not being the strongest of singers, Hinton can certainly carry a tune. What he lacks in finesse he makes up for with his mountains of positivity, energy and enthusiasm.
Knowing that the performer cannot possibly cover the whole alphabet of songs in our short time together, the Imaginaut asks the crowd which letter we would like to see played. In this show Hinton covers H, I, K,M, N, P, R, W, Y and Z as well as A,B and C. This is a good structure, which allows the start and finish of the show to be the same each time, yet allows for the middle to always be different. You can see the show several times and it never be the same; it’s a format that very much keeps Hinton on his toes.
There is an impressive amount of knowledge and lyrics retained in this performer’s mind. It’s fabulous to see his shotgun delivery and the vast array of music styles that he presents.
Highlights of the show today are the rap battle between Hinton and Imaginaut about nature versus nurture, the euro pop sounds in the song about us all being family and the catchy Zoological song at the end of the piece.
Hinton is trying to make the audience think about seeing the world as a whole ecosystem, rather than humans being the “masters” of it; be kind, consider the world around you and make the world a better place for you being in it. It is a good message, powerfully presented, with well thought out visuals, tender moments, at times, and above all it is a piece that is funny and engaging .
A large group has helped to create the show, made possible through arts and science based grants. The Ensonglopedia brand covers many topics in different shows from Plants to history to space and more. The whole team should be very proud of what they have helped to achieve.
Ensonglopedia is a magical show, wonderfully performed by Hinton, who’s a cross between 1980’s children’s entertainer Gaz Top and rock icon Iggy Pop. It is well worth a watch.
Reviewed on 6th June