This is the third of the trilogy and concerns the Polish woman Marie Curie who with her husband discovered radium and polonium and after his death, so much more – enough for her to to be the first person, man or woman, to win 2 Nobel Prizes and still the only one to win the Prizes in two sciences.
John Hinton, in a flat chested long black Edwardian dress, hair pinned up a la mode and his usual, often too loud voice, is once again enthusiastic and boisterous in the role of this severe woman. Marie is devoted to her work and any interruption, especially in the form of journalists, is anathema to her. John presents her sternly but she carries a guilty secret which a visit to America and a reluctant attachment to a female journalist there reveals – and for a while we see the woman beneath.
John, actor, producer and singer-songwriter, is a teacher and the message he has sent in all three of his performances in Adelaide is that even difficult concepts can be fun to learn if the teacher has the ability and enthusiasm to teach them. He is accompanied in this show by his pretty wife Jo Eagle, who this time plays the accordion, wears a pencil moustache and a cheeky French beret and is called Pierre, Marie's husband’s name. She is a very competent and pleasant assistant.
This is an adult audience ready to learn, to be entertained and involved. And they are. We are one with Marie in her desperate quest for radium to continue her experiments. American women donate the money to buy it on condition she collects the radium personally. We are enchanted with John’s representation of Missy, the all-teeth, gushing American journalist, using all her duplicitous skills to steer this difficult woman along the meet-and-greet highway, beloved of the U.S. of A. (Ask Charles Dickens what happened to him about 80 years before). A switch of personalities and John is the brush sucking factory women putting the glow in watches unaware that the growths and tumours in their jaws come from what they are doing.
Again there is difficulty for those sitting in rows near the front when John bounces to the audience at the back for we can neither see nor hear then and the game he plays with green string goes on far too long and becomes the only dull part of the show.
Tangram Theatre and Holden Street Theatres presents
John Hinton's Scientrilogy: The Element in the Room
by John Hinton and Jo Eagle
Director John Hinton
Venue: Holden Street Theatres | 34 Holden Street, Hindmarsh SA
Dates: 13 – 18 March 2018
Tickets: $22 – $28
Bookings: 1300621255 | www.adelaidefringe.com.au