God's Dice

David Baddiel
Soho Theatre and Avalon
Soho Theatre
to

Science is sometimes pitched as the enemy of religion, that it chases away with facts. However, God’s Dice suggests that some scientists may have a lot more in common with the religious community than most of us would imagine.

Much of the play’s dialogue is amusing, but the plot stretches credibility and is grafted onto the very tired formulae of an older man being enchanted by a mysterious younger woman. It also descends into a melodramatic B-movie horror story about a scary Christian cult.

Henry (Alan Davies), a smug, middle-aged physics lecturer at Exeter University, is intrigued by one of his students, 23-year-old Edie (Leila Mimmack), a Christian who lingers after class to ask a question. She also impresses him with her mathematical skill.

Their conversation prompts him to playfully demonstrate how chemistry can explain the miracle of making water into wine. Soon, they are doing the same with other miracles that become the book Gods Dice, which in turn spawns a militant Christian group The God Constant, who seem to think the book is somehow evidence for the existence of God.

This proves embarrassing to Henry’s wife Virginia (Alexandra Gilbreath), a writer on atheism, who describes the book as “reducing God to a series of differential equations”. She is soon the object of a massive online campaign of abuse.

Henry’s friend, the lecturer Tim (Nitin Ganatra), privately confronts Edie about her suspiciously blank social media history, but only to suggest she might want to sleep with him, a proposition that she records.

The actors give fine performances. There is a consistent troubled vulnerability in the eyes of Leila Mimmack that implies a depth to the character of Edie that the script denies her.

The play is never boring, but the science seems flimsy, the characterisation two-dimensional, the plot improbable and the themes poorly explored.

Reviewer: Keith Mckenna