The Necessity Of Atheism (3 stars)

This article is from 2016

The Necessity Of Atheism

An entertaining if slightly hollow production

With the popular emergence of atheism in the western world, as represented by the likes of Richard Dawkins, the Anglia Ruskin Creative theatre company have their finger firmly on the zeitgeist in a show that, while lacking depth and sophistication, will interest anybody who believes in intellectual honesty and free inquiry.

Young poet Percy Shelly has written a pamphlet that is bound to get him into bother with the Oxford University College. Its demands for proof of the existence of a God do not go down well with Lord Eldon and, if the college finds him guilty of authoring this document, Shelly could find himself quickly kicked out of the establishment.

The show never really poses any serious questions around the subject and no theological queries are ever really tackled, leaving not much meat hanging on the bones. However, it does address the idea of free inquiry and does so with enough humour and wit to entertain if not provoke deeper thought.

The performances are full of joy and energy, lifting the piece. It means well and does a sufficient job of grabbing attention, though it perhaps doesn't do so for the right reasons.

theSpace @ Surgeons Hall, until 20 Aug (not 14), 12.10pm, £8 (£6).

The Necessity of Atheism

  • 3 stars

Anglia Ruskin Creative Oxford, 1811 – at the height of the Napoleonic wars, amidst a fear of French invasion, a small pamphlet asking for God's existence to be proved makes its way to the heads of the university. Master Griffith dismisses it as a student joke, but Lord Eldon, Lord High Chancellor of England, smells blood.