Mars Actually (2 stars)

Mars Actually

Wacky, overly-twee attempt to offer insights into what makes us human

Gracey Fernandez, Chuck Filter and Conway Spinner are seemingly three aliens from Mars who have landed on Earth to impart their wisdom. What initially seems like a wide-eyed dorky experiment becomes a study in humanity and the way a woman will become little more than an incubator, as her pregnancy becomes a case study for scientific discovery.

Everything is thrown at this show: larky humour, clowning, 'Volleyboy' and a spirited spoon playing session. It starts off promisingly enough, as an alternative to earnest cosmology TED talks, skewering the reverence of scientific research documentaries and playing with staging limitations. A mime using a simple blanket is hugely inventive, drawing out the strengths of the actors' Lecoq training.

Yet there is a reliance on clumsy movement choreography and the darker segments don't feel as affecting as they should. The tendency towards wackiness becomes distracting, and the twee songs grate after a while. The themes presented here, while full of potential for a rich examination in what make us human, are never fully explored, often cast aside for some cheap laughs. But Maria Askew, Frode Gjerlow and Simon Maeder are an undeniably talented trio of performers, with some good ideas, and a seemingly endless supply of energy.

Assembly Roxy, until 26 Aug (not 17, 23), 7pm, £10–£12 (£9–£11).

Mars Actually

  • 2 stars

Superbolt Theatre 'Superbolt have that special type of genius… funny, warm-hearted, and surprisingly thoughtful' ★★★★ (FringeGuru.com). Following their award-winning sell-out run of Jurassic Park – ★★★★★ (Londonist.com, BroadwayBaby.com, Rip It Up, RemoteGoat.com) and ★★★★ (Time Out, List, Stage, Fest) – at the…

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