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Einstein review at the Pleasance, Edinburgh – ‘uneventful and meandering’

Pip Utton in Einstein at the Pleasance, Edinburgh
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Former The Stage Edinburgh Award winner and Fringe stalwart Pip Utton is no stranger to creating shows based on complex and often controversial characters.

Margaret Thatcher, Winston Churchill, Adolf Hitler, Charlie Chaplin and now theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. Donning an appropriate moustache and wild grey hair, Utton invites his audience to close their eyes for a moment and use their imagination to consider the concept of relativity.

Imagination is the greatest tool in the scientist’s laboratory and much of Einstein’s work required bold, imaginative leaps into the unknown.

As might be expected, science has its part in Utton’s play but it’s really a piece exploring the Nobel prize winner’s emotional make-up, rather than his work. Utton offers us a few facts about Einstein’s private life on matters of faith and love, as well as a little Hollywood name-dropping, providing amusing quotes about him from Chaplin and Marilyn Monroe.

Utton’s Einstein is supremely affable but rails against a press who dubbed him erroneously as the father of the atom bomb. Aside from this controversy, there’s barely enough drama in Utton’s meandering script to maintain interest. There was no time left for the Q&A finale, which is a shame as it may have livened up an otherwise uneventful 60 minutes.

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Utton proves that not all great names in history make great dramatic subjects