Einstein – Pleasance Courtyard

Written by Pip Utton

Runs at Pleasance Courtyard until August 25th, 14.00pm

This year, notable solo-performer Pip Utton has already undertaken two roles from previous shows: A timely return of Adolf Hitler. Along with his well-received And Before I Forget I Love You, I Love You, in which Utton plays the role of a man developing, and living with Alzheimer’s. This year, Utton’s remarkable ability in discourses brings histories most preeminent theoretical physicist Albert Einstein to the Pleasance Courtyard.

Turning from his desk, we never recognise Utton, we see Einstein. The metamorphosis Utton achieves, with his library of performances, is astonishing. From minor aesthetical changes to a considerable vocal and physical execution, the reluctantly named ‘Father of the Bomb’ Albert Einstein gives us a brief glimpse into his life as a theoretical physicist, a husband, a Jew and traditionally for Utton, a human.

Simple set dressing, Utton doesn’t rely on accoutrements, intensely focusing on capturing enough of the person for us to fill in the remainder. We paint Einstein’s office around us as Utton engages with the audience, drawing them into a warm presence. It’s made clear to us, that with so little time, we will investigate four areas of Einstein’s life – his infamous equation, the theory of relativity, his marriages and personal life, and final, a series of questions from the audience.

Far more approachable, Einstein has a quicker connection with the audience than some of Utton’s other performances. Where it hasn’t the raw emotion, nor the steadfast impact of Adolf, it turns inclusivity to its advantage. Drawing us in, whetting our appetite for research – what more could Einstein ask for?

It is far from entirely jolly, moments of hard-hitting history still leave a mark. Einstein’s history as a Jewish scientist, and the obliteration of his field, work and texts destroyed before him as friends and colleagues watched on, is painful to hear. There are few like Utton who, even when describing histories grimmest moments, keep you transfixed.

Peaking in moments, there is evidence that this Utton’s newest piece. It fails to have the flow notable with previous productions, which work with timing, tone and emotion. Einstein, only held to such a high calibre because of this, never moves from a solid production, it just stretches out sequences of information for a minute or two longer than we can take-in.

Imagination – the greatest, but also the deadliest tool humanity has. This imagination gifts us performers such as Utton, with charming writing unafraid to delve into the darker aspects of the physicist’s life. Utton, once more, refuses to shy from all of the angles of a persona, shadows and skeletons included. Einstein, with work, will no doubt find itself among the pantheon of tremendous roles he has brought to audiences.

Tickets available from: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/einstein


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