Inflatable Space (4 stars)

Inflatable Space

credit: Elvis Suarez

Space explored on-stage and across the universe

Thaddeus Philips takes the theory of the expanding universe literally in this bijoux meditation on space, history and human ambition: a huge inflatable dominates the stage, becoming a symbol of the universe's vastness, the make-shift and simple technology that launched the Voyager probe in 1977 and a handy screen for projections to illustrate Philip's meander through the past forty years.

Using the launch of the Voyager as a starting point, Inflatable Space observes with wry irony how the optimism of the mission was coupled with basic technology and an almost diffident press launch (staged at a motel). Speculations on how Voyager will eventually be intercepted by alien life, on the decline of NASA into a fragmented series of underfunded units, and the great hope that inspired a probe that would carry details of all human life deep into space are framed within Philip's casual, anecdotal structure.

Subtly asking questions about humanity's place in the cosmos, and whether the development of technological prowess necessarily increases ambition, Inflatable Space is a charming and philosophical inquiry that is modest even as it embraces complex questions. The inflatable itself may dominate and lend an edge of spectacle, but this is rich and provocative, without needing to raise its voice in anger or anguish.

Assembly Roxy, until 26 Aug (not 21), 4.15pm, £12–14 (£11–13).

Inflatable Space

  • 4 stars

Thaddeus Phillips A visually stunning theatrical odyssey exploring space, time and our human condition, from internationally acclaimed theatre artist, Thaddeus Phillips. In 1977, the Golden Record was launched on the Voyager probe in the hope of being discovered by alien life and showing them a visual and audible…

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