Wednesday, June 13, 2018

Secret Life of Humans

Presented as either a lecture nestled in a drama or a drama nestled in a lecture, Secret Life of Humans focuses on whether evolution is an unbroken line of progress, with each living iteration superior to the one before, or considerably more messy. It also provides some tricky conundrums about the meaning of superior and of good. The first topic--evolution--is discussed in the lecture parts and in conversation. All of the arguments are laid out neatly and clearly. The second topic--what it means to be superior/good--unfolds in compelling, if contrived action. (Basic story: Female lecturer with contemporary ideas about evolution meets someone via dating app. She finds out that he just happens to be the grandson of the person most famous for older ideas about evolution.)

Richard Delaney, Olivia Hirst
Photo: David Monteith Hodge

The theoretical parts of Secret Life of Humans are smooth and well-done, but they tell us nothing new, nor do they ask new questions. (I say this as a 63-year-old with a strong interest in evolution. When I was younger and knew less, I would have found the show considerably more impressive.) The show was worth 90 minutes of my time for the acting and some truly charming stagecraft. I would not be happy to have spent $70 on a ticket.

Secret Life of Humans is written by David Byrne [not the Talking Heads David Byrne, BTW] and directed by David Byrne and Kate Stanley. Starring Richard Delaney, Olivia Hirst, Andy McLeod, Andrew Strafford-Baker, and Stella Blue Taylor.

Wendy Caster
(press tickets, 5th row)
Show-Score: 75

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