We rarely post on shows in the rest of the world, simply because we cannot cover the whole world. Nevertheless, our talented editor Laco will occasionally bring you the latest news on hotspots in my second hometown London. Here is his first review on the show he can’t stop raving about. A must see if you are in London the upcoming weeks!
Take a Physics manual, blend it with the sound of Book of Mormons, the hilariously nerdy references of The Big Bang Theory, a sprinkle of Chicago, few drops of Glee, bake it in a Broadway bowl, use all the originality you can have…. That’s the successful recipe for the spectacular “The Theory of Relativity” Musical that has just premièred in London.
I went to see this show not really knowing what to expect, and from the very first moment we realised we were going to experience something unique.
The show (book by Brian Hill, music and lyrics by Neil Bartram, Director Christopher Lane) is a series of songs and monologues where all the characters seem to have their own independent story. Until the very end, when, in a “Love Actually” style, the unexpected connection between the characters is cleverly revealed by a monologue of a girl while she is getting her nails done.
The show rotates around Einstein’s belief that “only a life lived for others is worth living”. And the different stories point out how everything we do affects, often involuntarily, people around us, even if complete strangers. And it changes their lives.
The introduction to the scenes always starts with some impeccably scientific physics quotes and principles from the Einstein’s Theory of Relativity. “Person A. Person B. A is walking towards B at a rate of 3 miles per hour; B is walking towards A at a rate of 2 miles per hour…” says the narrator while two characters walk towards each other. The scientific principle describes the movement, but it does not explain what the interaction between two individuals implies: love for a beautiful girl passing by, anger for a lipstick falling from the purse, expectations from a date with the guy of your dreams, sadness for a beloved that has departed.
This is the beautiful truth behind this entertaining show: the Universe is ruled by scientific physics laws, though science alone cannot fully explain what life really is: a tangled complexity of feelings and relations and desires and dreams and disappointments…. The complexity of everyone’s life is reflected by the varieties of the songs: some joyful, some silly, some deep and moving till tears; some to be sung alone, some to be sung together.
The scenic and lighting are simple and essential with just few warm lights and 8 stools. This contributes to focus the attention on the essential part of this musical: the characters, played by a young and incredibly talented cast. The charming Simon Bailey plays a convincing, funny nerd with a special talent for numbers.
The cute Curtis Brown tells about the love of his life and his cat’s issues and Rebekah Lowings is an excited wife to be. Natasha Karp plays the hilarious role of a girl with an OCD for hygiene. Andrew Gallo is an admirer of a girl with lipstic he is going to bump into. The kaleidoscopic Ina Marie Smith plays a girl with the wisest mom in the world and the beautiful Jodie Steele is a girl with a turbulent love story in her past.
And the adorable Joshua LeClair as the guy that likes “oranges” but not “apples”: I don’t want to spoil what that really means as it’s too funny to find out during the show, but I guarantee you will not stop laughing during this song. (SPOILER: if you can’t resist and want to see if you may like “oranges” too – as I would expect as our reader! -…check the video below!)
It’s worth mentioning other few bits of the show that I really loved. Like the exhilarating duet “The End of the Line” (Smith, Karp) where two ex “best-friends forever”, Jenny and Sarah, talk about their friendship, starting from when Jenny was the hot and successful with guys one and Sarah the nerdy invisible one. Until the day their role switched and Sarah became a proper bi-ch forgetting their past. The deep “Footprint” (LeClair) about how even the most terrible things in our lives can’t destroy who we are: “…your footprints, your history, it’s who you are, and the Universe gets larger, and the Cosmos will expand, but one thing never changes: your footprint is right where you stand”. “Me and Ricky” (Steele), about the first true teenage love with a guy that one day screws up everything leaving the girl with a broken heart. The very touching and moving lyric of “Promise Me” (Smith), in which a girl named Mira (from Miracle, cause she was the only child after her younger brothers had died) sings about her mom that had taught her the way to live a true life. Until the day the mom suddenly died, though leaving Mira with a way to go on with her life:“…she was the one that made me see that miracles exist, so I just smile and whisper this to her: I promise you this, mama, I will make it through, cause now I understand the miracle was you. […] I won’t waste a single day, and my miracle will never fade away”.
I would not be surprised if this shows makes it to Broadway and to the West End in a short time. There is everything you would expect from a high standard musical, and even more. And the opportunity of watching it in such a small theatre like the Drayton Arms Theatre (no more than 50 seats) is a priceless treat. I liked the show so much that I’m going again on Friday and this time I’m taking my partners and a bunch of friends to let them experience as well this beauty. Oh and don’t be descouraged by the title! Even if you were a bit slow at school, you will have plenty to enjoy. Though if you are a bit of a nerd, than you will get so many hidden geeky quotes that will make this musical even more memorable. I found myself laughing in points of the show where people around me in the audience were totally serious (yes, I am a nerd, I knew it already…).
The show ends with the song “I’m nothing without you”, reiterating the message of this Musical with the line “I’m nothing without you and I hope it’s true that you are nothing too without me”. Life is an interaction of individuals, all in motion, walking toward their destiny, interacting with each other and making a difference in other people’s lives.
The Theory of Relatively is permeated with optimism and the audience gets affected by it, song after song. At the end of the show I couldn’t stop clapping my hands to thank all those people (actors, writer, composer, technicians…) that made my evening so wonderful and that, through a simple thing like this play, affected my life and changed it. For good.
The Theory of Relativity is performed at Drayton Arms Theatre until 13th June 2015.
Address: Drayton Arms Theatre, 153 Old Brompton Road, London, SW5 0LJ (UK).