Mini-review – The Physicists – Donmar Warehouse


The Physicists is a bizarre little play, a hybrid between a farce (“Noises Off”) and any sort of, shall we say, Shavian drama (the kind where the message making becomes dull at the end and you want to kick the soap box out from under the lead character’s feet). Ooh, a bunch of physicists in an insane asylum during the Cold War, HOW DROLL! Let’s make them wear fright wigs and prance around pretending to be Sir Isaac Newton and Einstein! And they can kill some people and it will have a bit of a murder mystery air about it and it will all be SO FUN!

Or so went the first act. Yes, I could see the ending coming from a mile off, and while watching the Hans and Franz children of Dr Moebius play a recorder duet was really about the height of insanity, I was just kind of wanting it all to be over long before the musical instruments were removed from their cases. I found the first act hateful and not at all funny. Why the hell had the Donmar chosen to remount this disaster?

Then act two came around and while the tone changed to Much More Serious Now We Talk About Ethics and Make a Big Point I just didn’t care anymore. Ooh ethics. Ooh cold war. OOH I AM SO OVER ALL OF THIS PLEASE JUST MAKE IT BE DONE. I sat there coldly watching the actors emote through their lines in fine I Got Taught To Do This In London style and just hated it all. YAY A TINY BIT OF SOMETHING REAL oh wait no not really we’re back to the farce. Amazing how even a short show can seem so long under the wrong circumstances …

I’m sorry. There must have been something redeeming in this night. But after seeing Noises Off so recently, I thought this play just deserved the dustbin. And I blew it and got the expensive seats for once. Argh! To think I could have been off seeing the Print Room’s Uncle Vanya instead! At least my friend liked it …

(This review is for a performance that took place on June 28th, 2012. It continues through July 21st. It was not my cup of tea.)


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