★★★★ | How To Be Immortal, UK Tour
Three true tales intertwine in this intimate, bold and funny show about love, science, death and immortality.
Henrietta Lacks died in West Virginia in 1951, but her cells are still alive today, dividing endlessly in laboratories, their every detail studied by scientists all over the world. It’s taken Deborah years to come to terms with her mother’s death. Now, suddenly, she’s got to deal with her immortality.
Rosa and Mick are in love. She plays the cello, he plays the squeezebox –they sound great together. The trouble is that she’s pregnant and he’s about to die.
If we didn’t have bodies would we live forever? Its 1950 and Doctor George Gey and his wife Margaret are about to make a mind-bending discovery using homemade apparatus and some calves liver puree. All they need is the right biopsy.
Love, death and DNA intertwine in three twisted true tales about what we leave behind. There’s live music on cello, squeezebox and ukulele, 1950s science, nano-puppetry, animation and a song composed from human DNA coding. This is a moving production that is not easily shaken from the mind.
For such a heavy subject matter, this is actually a very watchable and engaging play with plenty of humour. Writer, Kirsty Housley, manages to present a trio of fascinating stories with a deft touch, conveying both deep emotion and offering up a complex scientific theme, which is quite a feat. The technology worked well too with some breath taking back projections onto the versatile and clever set. The stories blend well together and the trio of talented actor/musicians give sterling performances in a variety of role.
I was lucky enough to catch the show at the Albany at Deptford, a fantastic small theatre and arts venue which people outside of South London might not be in the know about. It’s well worth a visit and easily reached by public transport.
The show is on tour until the end of March 2014 and you can catch it at various venues around the U.K.: http://www.pennydreadfultheatre.com/#!tour-dates/cxb5
Check out The Albany at Deptford here: http://www.thealbany.org.uk/whatson
Chris is a theatre and book obsessed Midlander who escaped to London. He’s usually to be found slumped in a seat in a darkened auditorium.