Writer and Director: Louis Rogers
Reviewer: Karl O’Doherty
Spine shivers mingle with tense dread as the narrator of Two Body Problem takes us through an unsettling research trip to the Antarctic wastelands. Death and man’s push to conquer (or cheat) it is at the core of the piece – revisiting the ideas of Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein and the febrile scientific atmosphere that led to it. The chase for the monster, and the chase for triumph over nature follow each other through the work, engaging and thrilling as we go.
Spiked with sharp prose and characterisations, the hour-long show takes the form of a lecturer, discussing the difficulties in being an academic at the mercy of funding agencies and a recent trip undertaken in shadowy circumstances. The researcher apparently has skills essential to a project in Antarctica, though after being persuaded to go, and travelling around the world, it’s not quite clear what it is they need help with.
Managing to slip in an excellent portrait of the academic alongside the tight narrative, Louis Rogers (writer and director) has mingled science and superstition together in an educational way – underneath the near poetic prose there are, at points, sound philosophical and ethical points that should be discussed today (as in Shelley’s day) as science and technology advance apace.
As the researcher (playing her and the translator she meets in the Antarctic), Martha Skye Murphy draws us into her tense, irritable, exasperated and unnerved world. Soundscape, as well as simple but effective visuals, build a life around her and the story, the different threads of which she deftly binds together.
Entertaining, awakening and informative – whilst giving a deep-seated, intellectual thrill. What more could you ask for?
Runs until 3 November 2018 | Image: