The Edinburgh Fringe
Fringe 2007 Reviews (77)
Jon Spooner of Unlimited Theatre has delivered serious-sounding scientific lectures under the guise of stage plays before. This time, he has a serious underlying message about the risks that we will all face as science begins to mess with our bodies and, by extension, our minds and even souls.
Regrettably, your critic has no great scientific knowledge, Spooner claims the same but using a well-developed PowerPoint presentation, he explains cogently that the world of Star Trek is not too far off. His restraint in avoiding the legendary phrase "Beam me up, Scottie" does him credit, as his subject is teleportation.
He starts by outlining two concepts from Quantum Physics: 1. Superposition, whereby something can be in two places simultaneously, and 2.. Entanglement, in which two separate bodies will act identically.
Putting these together and using ever more powerful computers will facilitate teleportation or moving bodies through space, as dear old DeForrest Kelley did for all those years on Star Trek.
The primary ethical issue, ignoring the abilities of rogue states and military powers to do bad things with this technology, is what happens to the mind.
The thesis is that while the body and brain move around easily, the mind and memory will be wiped. This doesn't necessarily follow as a logical assumption from what has gone before but is pretty mind-blowing (whoops, on re-reading that, any pun is entirely accidental) and acts as a good paradigm for similar ethical questions that arise from current technological advances.
There is one big question. Is this future reality or are Unlimited pulling our legs? This is critical for obvious reasons but either way, Unlimited and the laid back Mr. Spooner have produced a stimulating piece of theatre.
By the way, anyone who has not taken a physics degree will learn a lot from this laid-back lecture. Did you know that your mobile phone has more computing power than it took to put Neil Armstrong on to the moon?
After over a fortnight of solo shows, this Northern Irish monologue is really refreshing. It is a perfectly judged production that features an outstanding performance from Caroline Williamson as Claire.
She is a 17 year old who twitches nervously like a runty dog as she tells a sad tale that is all too familiar.
This junior meatpacker is adopted by the older girls from work who take her clubbing on her birthday.
When they leave Claire behind, she gets picked up by a man almost three times her age. The consequence is inevitable but there is a twist in the tail, albeit fairly predictable. The ensuing pregnancy is dealt with sensitively, with the man coming out as something of a white knight, at least up to a point
Director Dan Shere gets the pacing right and adds to the impression by underlighting Miss Williamson in one of Edinburgh's most gripping hours.
The Beatles, Sean Connery, Brendan Behan, Joan Littlewood, Tallulah Bankhead, Henry Fonda, Salvador Dali, Peter Sellers, the Rolling Stones, Michael Foot and Princess Margaret (and her sister!): even Victor Spinetti might have to admit that he is an arch namedropper.
All of those names, together with many others, feature in his charming 75 minute chat about his life on stage and screen, as well as off it.
The boy from Cwm, Ebbw Vale may have had humble stage beginnings but in the 1960s he was feted by the rich and famous and literally mobbed in the streets.
That was a long way from his West End debut, telling gags in a strip club. He has always been lucky though, having been cast in the South Pacific chorus, the man that he was understudying broke a leg within a fortnight and Spinetti was soon starring in a show that featured another new boy, Sean Connery.
Joan Littlewood liked the young Welshman and he joined her in Oh What a Lovely War in the West End and then on Broadway where he won a Tony.
By that time, Broadway celebrity was nothing, as he had made his first film with the Beatles, A Hard Day's Night and had practically become an honorary Beatle, at least in the eyes of the adoring New York public.
Spinetti was to appear in all of the Beatles movies and so much more. One suspects that some of the stories that he tells in his wonderful wallow in nostalgia might be apocryphal but with the quality of the names that he drops and the wit with which he delivers his tales, one can easily forgive him.