The Origin of Species

Katherine Gale

ADELAIDE FRINGE: An Edinburgh Fringe smash hit show about the famous father of evolutionary theory, written and performed by John Hinton.
The Origin of Species
The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Survival of (R)Evolutionary Theories in the Face of Scientific and Ecclesiastical Objections: Being a Musical about Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882) takes us into the life of Charles Darwin at a time when he is deciding whether or not to publish his controversial theory of evolution.

Written and performed by John Hinton, the play doesn't just introduce the audience to Darwin’s story, but to the man himself. As you walk to your seats, Charles is sitting at his desk on stage greeting everybody as though they are dropping into his study for a chat. This format continues throughout the show, so that when Charles asks a question of a man in the third row, he really waits for a response. It's a bit like being at a very, very entertaining lecture.

It's a one-man show but Hinton successfully depicts the wide range of characters in Charles' story, bringing to life strict father, ancient professor, and simpering cousin with panache. The various characters converse a lot, not just one to another, but in large groups. Such conversations are carried out convincingly and with humour, energy and a playful disregard for convention.

There are songs as well, on subjects ranging from Latin conjugations to barnacles to his wife. These are clever, funny and well performed, fitting into the show nicely and progressing the plot.

The Origin of Species is intelligent comedy and well worth the short trip to Hindmarsh.

Rating: 4 stars out of 5 stars

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or The Survival of (R)Evolutionary Theories in the Face of Scientific and Ecclesiastical Objections: Being a Musical about Charles Darwin (1809 - 1882)
Holden Street Theatres
Until March 18

Adelaide Fringe
February 24 – March 18
www.adelaidefringe.com.au

What the stars mean?
  • Five stars: Exceptional, unforgettable, a must see
  • Four and a half stars: Excellent, definitely worth seeing
  • Four stars: Accomplished and engrossing but not the best of its kind
  • Three and a half stars: Good, clever, well made, but not brilliant
  • Three stars: Solid, enjoyable, but unremarkable or flawed
  • Two and half stars: Neither good nor bad, just adequate
  • Two stars: Not without its moments, but ultimately unsuccessful
  • One star: Awful, to be avoided
  • Zero stars: Genuinely dreadful, bad on every level

About the author

Katherine Gale is a former student of the Victorian College of the Arts' Music School. Like many VCA graduates, she now works in a totally unrelated field and simply enjoys the arts as an avid attendee.Unlike most VCA graduates, she does this in Adelaide.