‘Nikola and I’ reviewed by Gordon the Optom

by February 5, 2018

‘Nikola and I’ is a South Australian Production, now having its West Australian Premiere. The presentation is part of the Perth Fringe 2018. The Kleenheat Sizzle Factor should be Mild. The performer, David Geddes and his co-writer / director, Gail Fay, have cleverly written the semi-autobiographical script.

This enlightening show can be seen at the New Hayman Theatre, within the Curtin Theatre Arts at Building 302. Enter Curtin University from Manning Road, past CSIRO; turn right onto Brand Road – the ring road – and park in the last section of Car Park 9. There are signposts to the venue on the pathway opposite the car park.

The 70-minute performances are at 8.30 on Fridays and Mondays, and at 6.30 on Wednesdays and for the final show on Friday the 16th February.

 

The set. Rear wall and wings, black drapes. There were several black 50 cms cubes used as seats. The period costumes and various props have been well selected to make to interpretation of this fascinating scientific tale very lucid to the audience.

Stephen Carr supervised the installation of his lighting design. Three Curtin Theatre students – one each night – will operate the sound and lighting equipment. The operators are Calum Christie, Sarah Connolly, and Kieran Trembath.

 

       As the audience gathers outside the theatre, a man wearing an ancient mysterious outfit, a cross between an Eskimo and a Peruvian hill dweller, approaches everyone. He offers a piece of his special, multi-coloured strip of sweet. He does a reiki movement over each person, before moving to the next group.

         When the show begins, the same character arrives in the present, shedding his strange garments. The young man (David Geddes) tells us how he has left home, tried studying, and ended up in mindless job. For relief he searches the internet for topics of interest. One day he discovers Nikola Tesla, the Croatian born American, who for decades after 1910, made world-changing discoveries.

       We are shown how Tesla was plagued by doubters, and his resilience to continue.

 

With such a serious and technically complicated subject, it would have been easy for the performer to be seen to be lecturing to the audience. However, with some clever tricks and pieces of everyday equipment, the audience soon learns that there are four dimensions in time and space and how they interlink.

David uses his magnetic personality and presentation to draw you into his world.

This play is not for everyone, but if you are interested in topics such as electric cars, Tesla’s power pack batteries and mind power, then you will have 70-minutes of riveting theatre.