Set in 1942 an older Einstein, the long grey hair standing on top of his head and the unkempt appearance that we are all familiar with, sits in his study waiting for a journalist to arrive while his housekeeper cleans all around him. Nicholas Papademetriou, as Einstein, is believable from the moment he enters the stage. He’s a shuffling, curious character with an air of innocent childlike wonderment and we feel his energy as soon as he gazes out into the audience. He simply is Einstein. The banter with his housekeeper, played by Alison Chambers, is crisp and speedily delivered. It is obvious theirs is a comfortable relationship and that he is well respected and even adored in his own household. Into this warm and comfortable atmosphere enters Margaret (Nisrine Amine), the journalist. Margaret’s questions initially are based on common knowledge of the great professor. Over time they become more and more personal until the penny drops and Einstein realises that this young woman, with all her probing questions, is more than just a journalist. This, “Aha”, moment, is played brilliantly by Papademetriou as he takes the truth in his stride.
It is at this point that Amine’s performance should have become loaded. The production was very much on one level and needed more light and shade. The things that Margaret confronts Einstein with are questions that many a lost soul needs answers to. Questions that, being left unanswered, lead to a lifetime of pain and confusion. In Amine’s performance there needed to be a combination of passion, desperation, anger and longing all bubbling beneath the surface. Amine’s Margaret was steady but not earth shattering.
Directed by Johanne Walraven, the production on the whole, needed to be better paced. A large stage for an intimate play. Maybe having the audience seated all around would have added to the ‘up close and personal’ vibe the production was trying to achieve.