Newton (3 stars)

This article is from 2013


A performance lecture on the great scientific mind

Sir Isaac Newton: unarguably one of humanities greatest figures. Radical thinker and inventor, Newton literally changed our understanding of the world. Even now, hundreds of years beyond his death, his impact is still felt. Jack Klaff’s monologue is a loving tribute to the great man, presenting many angles to Newton: his life’s story, those around him and those inspired by him.

Newton is a meticulously researched 75-minute performance that educates far more than it entertains; which might be the production’s weak point: it’s a lecture given by an enthusiastic actor. Klaff’s parade of characters ricochet off the walls, some of whom pop up more to show off Klaff’s abilities than to further any dramatic narrative.

The production is a little dry at times, and some of the characters seem to exist more to shock the audience back to attention, but the passion behind everything is undeniable. And Klaff makes for an excellent host, always interesting and usually engaging. It may not be thoroughly entertaining, but it is interesting enough and manages to teach a thing or two.

Summerhall, 0845 874 3001, until Aug 25 (not 13, 20), 5.00pm, £10 (£8)


  • 3 stars

Sir Isaac Newton. Supreme genius. Unique personality. He invented the cat-flap, refused to use spoons, insisted on crimson décor and his old apple tree now forms the shape of a question mark. He overcame a mother’s rejection, childhood bullying and early humiliation to become a giant of science, finance and society. With…