Writer: Rob Johnston
Director: Hugo Chandor
Reviewer: Tracey Lowe
The great thing about Fringe festivals is that you never know when you are going to uncover an unexpected gem. This was definitely the case with Freerange Theatre Company’s productions of Einstein’s Daughter, where a small but appreciative audience were on the edge of their seats as a dark and twisted tale unfolded before their eyes.
Einstein’s Daughter is the story of Maggie, a troubled young lady, whose academic father, Andrew, attempts to keep a tight grip on her life. When he leaves for a night away from home, Maggie’s old friend Cath returns after a mysterious ten-year absence, bringing with her secrets waiting to be uncovered, and revelations about the death of Maggie’s mother.
The script itself is absolute genius; the many twists and turns are revealed slowly and wonderfully, and never feel forced. OCD sufferer Maggie is portrayed sensitively by Emma Parker, who has some beautiful, touching monologues in the piece. Amy Spencer is great as the mouthy, rebellious Cath. But the real triumph in casting is Hugo Chandor, who is mesmerising as Andrew from the second he steps on stage. He shifts from warm and engaging, to slightly suspicious, to downright creepy.
The very basic set allows the audience to focus on the writing and characters. One complaint was that one particularly pivotal moment was missed by the back half of the audience, as it was too close to the front row. This normally would not matter, but this moment was a really important part of the story.
This play is a good example of how the size of an audience is not necessarily a reflection of its quality. Einstein’s Daughter is a moving, entertaining and sometimes disturbing piece of theatre, and deserves a life outside of the Fringe.