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Monty Leigh

Review: FLUX at Shoreditch Town Hall

Flux Smoking Apples Theatre shares their newest creation, Flux, with audiences at Shoreditch Town Hall. It is the first production from the devising theatre company that has a central female protagonist.

We are greeted with a beautifully designed set, which is a series of light boxes that add up to create the periodic table, a fitting (though slightly obvious) staging for a piece about a female Physicist in the 1980s. This set facilitates a lot of movement, as the performers move from puppetry and using shadow puppets to create mini scenes within the lights. This is the most unique part of the piece, that Kate, our protagonist is a puppet. She is operated very well by the cast, who use their bodies to manipulate her in a natural way and use guttural sounds (not words) to express how she is feeling.

Kate is a physicist with an interest in music, where popular 80’s anthems are used to highlight important moments in her life. Though the set is used well, and the scientific experiments are somewhat beautiful (with performers using atom shaped lights on fishing rods to create chemical reactions) the storyline is rather basic and unimaginative.

Kate is a scientist, who does not yet know her true potential, and upon making an important discovery loses control of where her work goes – it falls into the wrong hands of nuclear scientists for the use of bombs. On paper, this storyline has a lot of possibilities to be attention grabbing, but the execution falls short. We spend far too much time focusing on Kate’s love life and her break up, and also on the record store and her love of music. Surely if you are to create a show that you say ‘depicts a female physicist in the male-dominated world of science in the 1980’s’ you have more important issues to address.

This is also accompanied by a very unclear storyline. It takes a lot of concentration to move the story along, and a lot of focus is required to keep track of the goings on. This is unfortunate as surely puppetry is used to make this clearer, not muddy the water.

On top of this, there are some quite lovely comedic moments; though they appear rather cliché. Her falling asleep at her desk, or ‘bumping’ into her ex, speak more clearly of a bad rom com than an important story about a woman struggling in a man’s world.

On paper, good idea, unfortunately the company just don’t fulfil the brief.