In a letter to a fellow physicist, Einstein once famously claimed that God does not play dice with the universe. The question of how to square a belief in a divine plan with the arbitrary chaos of life is complex and compelling, but it’s only used as a backdrop to this slick but slight play from comedian David Baddiel.
God’s Dice tells the story of an ageing academic seduced into supporting a radical religious sect by a brilliant but fanatical student. Director James Grieve keeps the scenes short and snappy, but the light tone isn’t enough to compensate for an overstretched plot.
Heading the cast, Alan Davies brings the necessary naivety to quantum-physicist Henry, his wide-eyed curiosity blinding him to the ramifications of his research. He gets to drop in plenty of pleasingly deadpan gags between bursts of exposition, though, giving the often-flagging show repeated jolts of comic energy.
Beside him, Leila Mimmack demonstrates an unblinkingly intense focus as charismatic fundamentalist Edie, while Alexandra Gilbreath makes the best of a badly underwritten part as Henry’s atheist wife Virginia, worn down by having to constantly attend to his ego.
Lucy Osborne’s set is elegant and uncluttered, a series of opaque panels that serve as whiteboards for extensive equations or slide apart to reveal stacked bookshelves. Periodically, these screens become a canvas for Ash J Woodward’s swirling video segments, where flowing numbers, abusive tweets and Rorschach-test abstractions jostle for space, challenging the audience to find meaning in the confusion.