Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review: Ball at Hawking’s at New Town Theatre (Venue 7), reviewed by Matt Trueman
Half-brilliant and half-baked, Ball at Hawkings is profound one minute, doolally the next. Polish company Arka Teatr, an ensemble of able-bodied and disabled actors, show us Stephen Hawking the icon: a super brain, a computer-generated voice and a body in a wheelchair. This abstract expressionist oddity asks if we can conceive of all three together.
The inability to speak, it posits, so strongly connotes mental disability that we can’t shake the thought off, even faced with brilliance as bona fide as Hawking’s.
To disrupt the way we see disability, Arka Teatr show us Hawking’s sexual as well as his intellectual life, but it starts with an immense discourse on science, religion and disability, via Hawking and Einstein.
Open to contradiction, Jaroslawa Makus’ treatise suggests science is both heartless and humane. Then things spin out. Director Renata Jasinska represents Hawking’s headspace with a team of Teletubby-type clowns dancing around him as he cradles his wife in the guise of Marilyn Monroe, while bankers mutter banalities below.
It’s almost laughable and it’s almost wondrous and often it’s both at once.
MORE INFO: Ball at Hawking’s is at New Town Theatre
Originally published in The Scotsman