The Element in the Room: A Radioactive Musical Comedy About the Death and Life of Marie Curie

The historical story of Marie Curie is a fascinating tale of a brilliant woman who made ground-breaking discoveries in the field of radioactivity from the 1890s. The Element in the Room is that same story told by a man in a dress – one who has a lovely singing voice and a fantastically infectious excitement for science. I love me a historical tale, but I’m a sucker for a man in a dress.

As a scientist and a lover of musical comedy, I have no idea how I hadn’t heard about John Hinton’s Scientrilogy. Having now seen the final instalment of his glorious masterpiece, I am not only ashamed but slightly miffed. This show was phenomenal — educational, clever and very funny. If science classes were more like this, we’d have armies of boffins at our disposal.

John is glorious on stage. Along with Pierre on accordion (played by the extremely talented Jo Eagle), they conjure up scenes and stories from nothing, using words and mime and letting our imaginations do the rest. Who needs a set when you have this kind of story-telling aptitude?

Additionally, he is a particularly endearing performer, and his interaction with the audience was always welcoming and inviting. A particularly favourite part of the show for me was the level of audience participation, both in the form of scientific singalongs, a Curie-themed pop quiz, and a hands-on demonstration of the radioactive decay chain.

You’ll walk out of this show with a higher appreciation of the life and work of Madame Curie, a solid understanding of the difference between alpha and beta decay (plus more scientific knowledge than you potentially walked in with), as well as fully exhausted laugh glands. Definitely not a show to be missed.

In fact, go see it twice.

★★★★★

For show times and to book tickets, see the Fringe guide.