Writer: Terry Johnson
Director: Kate Wasserberg
Reviewer: Emma Boswell
“A play with timeless significance”
This multi-layered play, written by acclaimed playwright Terry Johnson, comes to Mold’s Theatr Clwyd this month with a bold and starry-skied bang.
The play brings together four cultural icons – Monroe, DiMaggio, Einstein and McCarthy to both delight and challenge viewers with themes ranging from the power of celebrity to the theory of relativity.
The play is set entirely in The Professor‘s (Einstein) New York City hotel room. The in-the-round staging in Theatr Clwyd’s ‘Emlyn Williams’ space is utilised to great effect. This allows intimate engagement between the cast and audience, allowing the audience to feel fully part of the, often very passionate and heart-felt, interactions between the characters. The use of lighting is impressive, including a shooting star-lit sky to compliment discussions about the workings of the universe. A particular highlight of production involves The Professor’s disposal of his works from his high-story hotel room window, resulting in a poignant moment of the audience being showered with Einstein’s ground-breaking papers.
All cast members provide a consistent, solid delivery. Sophie Melville’s portrayal of The Actress (Monroe) stands out as a particularly impressive and emotive performance. Audience members are drawn in by the combination of Monroe’s outward high-energy eccentricities and her inward insecurities, conveyed masterfully by Melville. Brendan Charleson’s performance as the brow-beaten Professor is also noteworthy; several moving moments, including the Professor’s moral guilt over ‘the bomb’, provide audience with moments of reflection. Christian Patterson’s offering as the bully-boy Senator, with his all-consuming paranoia over communist subversion, is loud and strong. There are times when it would be nice to see a bit more depth in this character, to allow the audience to delve deeper into the Senator’s own motivations fuelling his obsessive vision of ‘America’.
Insignificance offers the audience two hours of increasingly relevant discussions surrounding life, the universe and politics. It gives viewers the opportunity to challenge stereotypes and preconceptions, all the while debating the power of celebrity, politics and how these two forces can interlink. A must-see!
Runs until 15th October 2016 | Image: Catherine Ashmore