Science or faith? Fact or philosophy?

When two people with opposing views fall in love – do they ever really stand a chance?

Credit: Danny Kaan

The story follows Maggie (Madalena Alberto), a famous scientist who has recently finished writing a book on humans being ‘molecular robots’ based entirely on scientific facts. As a recent divorcee, she has been dragged out on holiday by her ex-sister-in-law Sheila (Klaune Saunders).

While shopping for cabbages, she falls for a deeply religious hunky local farmer Luke (Tim Rogers), an Australian spiritualist who strongly believes in something beyond what is in front of him. As their relationship grows, Maggie keeps her identity a secret for fear of reprisals as Luke shares his disgust for the author of a book he despises.

As a subplot, we meet bubbly Irish Heather (Molly Lynch) and confused American Connor (Joaquin Pedro-Valdes) who are on an impromptu vacation. She claims to hear dead poets whilst he is terrified of uncertainty and looking for answers. The characters’ paths cross when Luke hosts a religious course and the four debate over colossal questions. These arguments long ensue into the second act, dragging out their intractable beliefs and trying to force their opinion on one other, which becomes somewhat laboured.

Credit: Danny Kaan

Alberto is strongly vocal as Maggie reinforces her stubborn and self-confident character. Rogers as Luke is especially unlikeable with his excessive swearing and whimsical headstrong beliefs proselytising others. Saunders does the best with what she is given, multi-roling as Maggie’s ex-sister-in-law and the sister of Luke, and somewhat irrelevant – a comical, underdeveloped addition with little purpose.

Joaquin Pedro particularly stands out in ‘I Ask Why’ with eyes full of tears as he expresses his fear for uncertainty, while Lynch’s ‘All the Dead Poets’ shows off her musical theatre angelic yet rich voice.

The songs are very much an accompaniment to the dialogue; every song seemed to blend into another. The base of the music has elements of Into the Woods and The Last Five Years with most in a minor key, matching the uneasy theme of the production. The powerful voices of the cast cleverly blend the vocals into their speech.

Entering the theatre, the simple white buildings seem to suit any story that could unfold. The entirety of the production situated in Italy doesn’t seem to suit the sets as they feel more Greek than Italian.

Credit: Danny Kaan

The problem lies within the writing as the plot focuses almost entirely on Maggie and Luke’s clash of beliefs, constantly going backwards and forwards with assistance from Heather. Connor and Heather’s stories blend into the background, and their relationship and individual stories are not explored, which is a shame as they are the characters who interested me the most.

There doesn’t appear to be a real resolution other than ‘sometimes it’s ok to not have a definite answer.’ Sadly, no groundbreaking ideas occupy your thoughts afterwards.

Credit: Danny Kaan

With brilliant performers and ideas that have all the potential to create an engaging thought-provoking piece of theatre, sadly the characters seem half-baked, unfulfilled, and with nowhere to go, and the running time could definitely be shorter.

Rating: 2 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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