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The Origin of Species

The Origin of Species
Tangram Theatre
at Norwich Arts Centre

Review published in Eastern Daily Press, 23 October, 2010

The evolution of the one-man show artform is overdue an academic study.

Add in acoustic guitar, original songs, physical comedy, awful puns and some challenging ideas, and The Origin of Species is a hybrid gem of the genre.

John Hinton wrote and presented the piece, narrated around parts of Charles Darwin’s life in the form of a running monologue interspersed with effective, unembarrassing audience participation and stand-up repartee delivered in a style reminiscent of Michael McIntyre.

It was billed as being ‘by means of Natural Selection or the Survival of (R)Evolutionary Theories in the Face of Scientific and Ecclesiastical Objections, a Musical Comedy.’ It largely delivered that.

There was a sense of the scientist’s delight in discoveries and connections about species, including man, that reflected the enormous controversy of his day. It’s a debate that still has potency.

There were no definitive answers; nor could there be when the existence of a Creator God was not argued away and people watched the play with the benefit of modern hindsight.

Clearly, though, John Hinton is a talent, and like his descent from tall man to convincing ape at the end, his ascent into a writing and performing presence will be quite something.

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