Newton’s Cauldron

Edinburgh Festival Fringe Scotsman review (theatre): Newton’s Cauldron at Paradise in the Vault (Venue 29). Review by Claire Smith.

The relationship between science and religion, superstition and fact is a bit of a hot topic at the moment. But this is no dour Dawkinsesque exploration of the subject. Instead writer Tim Foley explores the conflict through the eyes of two 17th century witches, who – warned by a premonition – believe they must prevent Isaac Newton from laying the foundations of physics.

It’s a play for children and adults, but by no means less entertaining and clever for that. The witches are Wendy, a Mary Pickford lookalike with a lovely light touch with words, and Wombat, her older sister who is a bit of a comic turn but far more serious about the whole witching business.

Wendy and Wombat consult their book of spells and call up a host of magical creatures to try to stop the march of science. But eventually it is the difference in character between the two sisters which determines how the world changes forever.

Cara Mahoney and Emma Taylor deliver a spirited performance which has even tiny members of the audience entranced. Foley conjures up a way to unite and celebrate both the magical world and the scientific world – and to sprinkle some stardust over physics.

Until 17 August. Today 5:45pm, more info

Originally published in The Scotsman

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