“We Were Meant To Be Explorers”

14/07/2011 at 1:47 pm 2 comments

The Farnsworth Invention

presented by the New Theatre, July 2011

I really enjoyed this, it ripples with energy and character; the show has a cast of about eight million (performed by a modest ensemble of nineteen), featuring glorious little cameos and minor roles that pepper the main narrative as driven by the central conflict between Sarnoff & the eponymous inventor Farnsworth. The historical element is something of a fascination and Aaron Sorkin’s script deftly handles the elements of dry science behind the story of a troubled genius and his vision to create the revolutionary household device we know as the idiot box. There are obvious parallels with that other Sorkin penned story of late but the similarities end quickly as the duelling entrepreneurs here both carry far more charisma and empathy than their malignant modern counterparts of The Social Network. This story explores the tension between science and capitalism (sound familiar?) with a subtle hand, drawing a battle over intellectual property into a wider debate over commercial interests, collaboration and the ugly side of corporate politics.

One day someone is going to reveal to us the attractive side to this world, surely; but for this story we are vividly transported into the context of the nineteen twenties – and there’s an understated nostalgia which lightens the tone of what’s really a pretty vicious prize fight told from two very different perspectives. A neat trick to have the protagonists stop and argue the different sides of the story as the action unfolds, what could be a painful stop-start works a treat as director Louise Fischer keeps an almost rolling scene-change pace with her actors barely slowing down a jot – it’s almost too hard to keep up! With Sorkin you want it fast and tight and fans of his work will not be disappointed, newcomers are in for a treat and those just after a terrific night out away from the television should book this into their schedules. After all, what is life without a little exploration?

The Farnsworth Invention, at the New Theatre, plays until August 13.
featuring Shannon Ashlyn, Patrick Connolly, Robert Edwards, Errol Henderson, Lynden Jones, John Keightley, Naomi Livingstone, Corinne Marie, Ruben Neeson, Marty O’Neill, Samantha Roylance, Kate Shearer, Mark Sippel, Gary Smith, Damian Sommerlad, Chris Turner, Paul Whiddon, Amanda Wiltshire and Robert Zavadszky

Entry filed under: Inside Theatre REVIEWS, Sydney THEATRE. Tags: , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , , .


2 Comments Add your own

  • 1. Gary Smith  |  15/07/2011 at 11:13 am

    Thanks for the review. The show actually runs until August 13.

  • 2. anvildrops  |  15/07/2011 at 11:32 am

    oops! sorry about that. correction made, thanks.


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VICTOR SANCZ vassanc [AT] gmail.com

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