Physical Science

Review written by Flossie Waite
A Nutshell Dance Production
Blue Elephant Theatre
For ages 4-11

I’ll be the first to admit that I’m very poorly qualified to write about dance. I spent the first few moments of Physical Science fretting over my notes, wondering whether a move should be classed as a shimmy or a shoulder shake, then panicking that my deliberations had distracted me from the following choreography. Then I spent the rest of the show enjoying storytelling that felt completely natural and very fun.

Scientists Zosia (Jo), Sarah (Hitch) and Justyna (Sochaj) welcome the audience to a day at their laboratory, as they work on special potions that cause surprising results – from adding extra arms to sending you to sleep. Maria Frogner’s choreography, and the dancers’ personality-filled performances, give an idea what is being portrayed, but also allow plenty of space for the audience to fill in the gaps. Likewise, there are unexplained details – Justyna never speaks, for example – which make this both a very silly adventure and a really interesting and intriguing production.

There’s plenty of opportunity for both imaginative and physical engagement, as the show constantly asks the audience to think up ingredients and recipes to save the day, and eventually calls everyone on stage to create their own movements and experience the effects of the potions firsthand.

Zosia signs all of her narration, which is noticeable at first, but quite quickly becomes an additional layer of expression rather than an exceptional one. Physical Science is inclusive, accessible, involving, enjoyable and, for me, made dance make a bit more sense.

Image by Alicia Clarke

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