Science Adventures: The Power Pickle
- Lucy Ribchester
- 28 August 2021
Coppice Theatre's science-based children's Fringe show heads to the stars but takes a few too many detours
The Ardent Company Of Extraordinary Scientists (ACES) are on a mission to blast their latest invention into space. But there's a problem. Part of the (delightfully named) Sub-Nuclear Optical Transmitter (SNOT) is broken, and to fix it will require all of the scientific expertise at the team's disposal. Minnie Wilkinson's script, produced by Cornwall-based Coppice Theatre, provides a nice framework for delving into different aspects of science, and valiantly attempts to break down complex concepts such as generator power, volcanology and hydro-powered electricity into child-friendly explanations.
Particularly lovely are the sentiments that come up repeatedly, demystifying science and making it plain that it's a discipline which is accessible to all: 'there's nothing wrong with asking questions', says Dr Aries the meteorologist. 'It doesn't matter if you get it wrong, that's what science is all about,' adds Dr Poole, the hydrologist. The cast are great at channelling their energy and pacing towards younger viewers, and a series of stories-within-stories (contributed by various writers) are acted out cleanly with fable-esque flourishes.
But there are too many tangents, and the script overall tries to pack in a little too much for the main story to feel truly coherent and accessible; in fairness, the central thread hinges on a piece of equipment produced by Professor McGuffin, but that's rather a niche joke for a young crowd. Leaping from subject to subject, veering off to warn of the dangers in trusting internet sources as well as throwing around word-play jokes to entertain the parents, leaves you feeling that Coppice's educational messages might have been better served if their ambitions were a little more grounded.
Science Adventures: The Power Pickle, Pleasance Online, until Monday 30 August, £8.