Life of Galileo marks a momentous shift in scientific exploration and rational thought. It charts not only Galileo’s personal sacrifice (and the sacrifice of those around him) in advancing the heliocentric model, but also the resistance and reaction he encountered. Translated by John Willett, it is extraordinarily relevant and even prophetic: above all it seeks to champion the universal endurance of humanity as rational and courageous in the face of dogma and fear.
Cowell is brilliantly robust and charming as Galileo. He is clever to distinguish Galileo the scientist and Galileo the father, being distinctly cold to his daughter Virginia (Anjana Vasan) compared to his warm and instructive demeanour with Andrea, wonderfully played by Billy Howle. The ensemble are strong as they use puppetry, instruments and quick yet visible costume changes to orbit around Galileo’s life.
Brecht is known for reminding his audiences that they are watching a play, and uses song, dance and other tools to distance the narrative from reality. Cowell shouts the scene numbers throughout, and the actors spend their pre-show and intermission running about the stage, encouraging the audience. It works well and is a highly inventive and accessible adaptation of Brecht. Only the song and dance numbers are a bit shoe-horned and digressive for an already lengthy three-hour production.
With music by Tom Rowlands, one half of The Chemical Brothers, Life of Galileo is forward-thinking and almost revolutionary. Expansive and enlightening, it travels to the far-reaching limits of the universe in order to better understand ourselves.
|Life of Galileo, Young Vic review
|The Young Vic, 66 The Cut, Waterloo, London, SE1 8LZ | MAP
06 May 17 – 01 Jul 17, 7:30 PM – 9:30 PM
|£10 - £38
|Click here to book via the Young Vic Theatre