Pros: A cheerful hour of entertainment.
Cons: The narrative is patchy, especially in the first half.
Influenced by a positive father figure, Amy has always had a soft spot for science and, as a result, her first big teenage crush sparks for her Science teacher, Mr. Murray. Bound to fade before it even started, her infatuation promptly shifts to the English teacher, before then focusing on an unworthy peer.
Narrated in the first person, this autobiographical comedy is an attempt to analyse with a scientific approach the process of falling in love; comparing the attraction between two people to the dynamics that occur in a chemical reaction.
Set in the nineties, the show benefits from the use of film clips, pictures and soundtracks that celebrate the glorious years of Hanson, Jurassic Park and the endless musical rivalry between Christina Aguilera and Britney Spears – for which the audience is called to take sides. An experiment kit distributed beforehand contains the flavours and props to ensure a nostalgic trip down memory lane to times when Hubba Bubba and glowsticks were trendy.
Although these multimedia and interactive elements liven up the show, they also recur too often, making Amy come across as a host rather than a storyteller. This distraction on some occasions diverts the performance from important topics, which are briefly mentioned but not analysed as they deserve. The young girl’s white lies, told to be accepted amongst the ‘cool’ adults, as well as the desperate need to fall in love just to be loved back, are subjects worth exploring in greater depth.
There’s one moment in particular, where the account becomes exceptionally serious. A 16-year-old Amy has innocently accepted gifts from an adult acquaintance and naively replied to his messages. When things become more explicit, she questions her responsibilities in entertaining the situation and the misleading signals she might have unwillingly sent. Self-accusation and accountability in episodes of sexually inappropriate behaviour are a timely issue that, in a more mature work, would have taken centre stage.
Amy’s bubbly personality, combined with her creative verve are the perfect ingredients for a highly entertaining, but equally resonant, piece. The audience had a great time listening to her misadventures, but for The Quantum Physics of My Heart to become a ripe and memorable piece of theatre the artist needs to strike a better balance between entertainment and sense of purpose.
Written and Performed By: Amy Tobias
Director: Roxy Cook
Booking Until: 25 February 2018
Box Office: 07598 676 202
Booking Link: https://vaultfestival.com/whats-on/the-quantum-physics-of-my-heart/