Theatre review: Einstein, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh

Einstein, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
Einstein, Pleasance Courtyard (Venue 33)
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Pip Utton is to monodramas what Einstein was to physics.

Einstein, Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh * * *

Fifty minutes after this new biographical show of Albert Einstein, this certified Fringe institution was off to play Adolf Hitler, and shortly after in And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You, last year’s hit solo about Alzheimer’s.

Einstein invites you gently into this production in mellifluous accented German: a reassuring sort of fellow, trim Tweed jacket, pocket watch in brown waistcoat, even a bit of a bumbler. He was every cartoonist’s dream of the mad scientist, but never wore a white coat, and his hair is trim.

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Einstein said it would take five days to explain his theory of relatively to a physics PhD; ironically the show is at it’s sharpest when Utton pulls out e=mc2, deftly tells its staggering implications for the power of one gram of atomic matter, and draws a line from there to the bomb.

The historic and personal ironies of Einstein’s life are laid bare, as in when the Nazis turned insanely on Germany’s most brilliant Jewish scientists, before launching their own race for the ultimate weapon.

But there seemed insufficient argument to this piece, no nexus moment with battles to be thought. Einstein, by this play’s account, turned pretty dictatorial in his relations with women, but the hint of an angry edge in his genius was left dangling.

Until 25 August.

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