THERE was plenty of energy both on and off the stage when the National Science Museum’s travelling show came to Bromsgrove’s Artrix.
The plot was pretty simple – it surrounded science students Philamena (Emma MacLennan) and Annabella (Jen Holt) who had failed their exams for different reasons. Annabella had simply been too methodical in her approach and just made lists about what she was doing and Phil, on the other hand, had been chastised for blowing up her lab.
The pair’s quest was to put together a presentation to demonstrate all nine different types of energy, from static and kinetic to nuclear, in under five minutes.
And their journey, as they conducted elaborate and ‘dangerous’ experiments on stage, had both the children and their parents and grandparents oohing, ahhing, cheering and clapping in equal measure.
The show was a joy to watch and worked on so many levels that it satisfied the expectations of everyone in the auditorium.
The characterisation was also very clever – rather square Annabella and the lovable and extremely mischievous Phil were perfect contrasts with conflicting interests, who worked well together to get the simple message across – science is fun when it’s done right.
The two-hour show flew by with balloons of hydrogen and oxygen being blown up on stage, bubbles and fireballs being created, flowers frozen in nitrogen oxide leading to the stage being engulfed in dry ice and pop bottle rockets being launched into the audience.
James Canvin was also very good as the robotic Bernard and computer i-nstein explained all that was going on and the science behind it.
The show certainly made a subject that scores of students have shunned for years very exciting.
Phil’s obsession with Star Wars, which led to plenty of Yoda and Darth Vader impressions, re-enactments of scenes from the cult films and even a lightsaber battle also created plenty of comedic situations and especially resonated with the mums and dads who had grown up with Obi-Wan, the force and the galaxy far far away.
Overall The Energy Show was a genius way to get across a simple message and, in the process of it being staged, it certainly re-energised everyone in the audience’s enthusiasm for the subject.
Oh, and they managed to demonstrate the nine different kinds of energy in under five minutes in the grand finale as well.
Experimental theatre at its best.