Edinburgh Fringe digital review: Einstein! Celebrating 100 Years …

Written and performed by Jack Fry, Einstein! is a one-man show that presents everyone’s favourite scientist in a light yet poignant comedy about his youth.

As Einstein regrets the mistakes he may have made in his personal relationships while focusing on his work, he also rails against the rampant commercialisation that has used his image.

Spoken directly to audience/camera, Fry’s characterisations of Einstein and those around him are clearly crafted and deftly played under the watchful direction of Tom Blomquist.

Background projections and carefully chosen props (design by John Toom) give life and depth to Einstein’s story, offering signposts to his state of mind or the chaos of a brain touched by genius.

Promotional image for Einstein!

As this was filmed in front of a live audience, there are occasionally issues with the sound balance between Fry and his audience’s bursts of laughter making it necessary to hover over the volume button.

In the First World War, Einstein opposed aggression and conflict; by the Second, his anti-nuclear stance was clear. His scientific discoveries were for good, not for destruction.

Einstein! displays a performance of great power while remaining accessible and grounded. Fry treads the ground between the amusing and affecting with ease, even utilising mime at some points.

As Einstein is currently being used in advertisements, it seems appropriate that modern technology is referenced more than once, alongside the irony of the man suffering both the stings of antisemitism and the laurels of a Nobel Prize, itself mired in controversy.

Promotional image for Einstein!

It’s the personal and the family angles, though which feel most affecting. As a cold wind blows through on the sound effects, a parting between father and son takes on added emotional weight.

Einstein may have been focused on work but couldn’t settle into family life. Whether he ever really cared about how his actions impacted on those who loved him remains unclear.

What is clear is that his brilliant mind had a lasting impact on him personally, and this is given strong prominence in the projected diagrams and images that illustrate his theories.

“I believe in what I know. I do not believe in the unknowable.”

You can stream Einstein! Celebrating 100 Years of General Relativity throughout the Edinburgh Fringe with tickets here.


Image credit: Jesse Ashton

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