FRINGE REVIEW – Photo 51, Theatre with Teeth @ Zoo


1445 until 30th August (not 16th or 23rd) @ Zoo Roxy

By Emily P

Photo 51 was the X-ray photograph with which Rosalind Franklin would have proven the Double-Helix structure of DNA, had fate and circumstance not intervened leaving Watson and Crick as the names in every child’s text book.
In this exquisite piece of drama our cast, or chorus as they seem to act, skitter about the set like Clangers – wordlessly evoking the delightful miracle of human curiosity as they go about exploring the personal outlook and public persona of Franklin. With deft physicality and inventive and well exploited staging the company joyfully put Franklin under the microscope and reveal something of the woman and scientist in this extremely enjoyable examination.
Each of the group will become the players in the biographical drama – James Watson, Francis Crick and Maurice Wilkins all appearing to tell their piece as well as Franklin herself, each time played by a different female member of the cast. Any scientist worth listening to must be something of a poet so luckily for us the text is taken from a number of published sources: biographical material on Franklin, The Double Helix by James Watson as well as work by Darwin and Dawkins. This lends the script a real ballast of substance and a compelling credibility. Which is then enlivened by the splendid staging and acting.
There are too many good ideas in the whirling imagination of this production to list. But whether it’s old-fashioned chalk boards, an over-head projector or a Jenga set the group makes such creative use of them, and with such expression that the audience become enraptured with a child-like wonder at the human ability to experiment and discover. The discovery will be the piecing together of a jigsaw to form a snapshot of an enigmatic scientist.
As Francis Crick said ‘science is the creation of very human people’. Well Photo 51 is a piece of human science by very creative people.

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