It is a truth universally acknowledged that a single woman in her mid-thirties with a PhD in quantum physics must be in want of a husband...
Or so The God Particle would have us believe.
Like many other discerning Fringe-goers, I was seduced by the award-nominated publicity of The God Particle; here was a design that appealed to our intellect, not our loins – it seemed the Fringe and the Science Festival procreated and gave birth to the perfect rom-com sci-fi hybrid – a British Big Bang Theory for the stage. Instead, The God Particle situates itself thematically nearest to 1996, or as female-kind remembers, the year of Bridget Jones.
Single women, man, they're so sarcastic and bitter. And don't get them started on their little sister's nuptials. Everyone knows that having to be in your little sister's wedding, when your mum and everyone around you thinks you are the eldest living resident of Singletonville, is the most excruciating pain ever. But is it though? Is it really?
Enter a bumbly vicar named after a rugby ball manufacturer and looks a bit like Ben Fogle (phwoar). Building an unlikely alliance between two completely incompatible characters, veteran television writer James Cary wrings out every sopping drop of the love is blind premise to push them together. But without the promise of sex, I'd find it difficult to understand Richard Dawkins popping over to Justin Welby's for tea and a natter, which roots it firmly in rom-com fantasyland. The God Particle is like an indelicate mashing of every rejected Richard Curtis script ever made, masquerading as a romantic comedy for the thinking person by shoe-horning in sci-fi terms and concepts.That said, Abby Guinness' and Ruben Crow's performances are accomplished and sharp; their comedic timing and likability transcend the reductive script. Despite being thorough and well-developed, The God Particle never leaves cute and approaches challenging. If you put a big brain on your posters, the audience might be expecting to use theirs, at least a little.