Joshua Logan Walker
Joshua Logan Walker’s new play Edison is described as a ‘genre bent’ production, which explores the relationship between Thomas Edison and Nikola Tesla, the first a crook and the second a brilliant inventor.
And therein lies the issue with the piece. Despite many flashback scenes, interpretative dance and a pigeon waterboarding a character mid-speech, we’re no wiser as to any further detail by the end.
Edison is exuberantly played by Jaz Blain, stalking the stage in a yellow blazer, making creepy tannoy announcements and rolling around on the floor covered by gold streamers. He gives it his all and, although there’s a clear correlation between his omnipresence and his ability to flex power over his employees, there’s no character development beyond said creepiness.
Similarly Nikola Tesla (Zoe Feldman / Juliet Mellon), although repeatedly told by other characters that he’s a genius, spends much of the play wading through the gold and looking wistfully into the distance.
The ensemble cast work hard during this piece representing factory workers, cheerleaders, animals and multitude of other things. The group singing is a particular highlight, although the breakdancing seems a step too far.
With clever use of video and projection, a committed cast and a great true story to build from, it's unfortunate that Edison is largely style over substance, a play that needs a few less genres and a few more facts.
Reviewer: Amy Yorston