In The Principle of Uncertainty we have a physics lecture on Quantum Mechanics containing live music with the premise that the only certainty is that nothing in the universe is certain. Italian physicist Andrea Brunello Ph.D. plays Professor Lapage, standing amid a simple and colourful set with little more than a box sitting on a stool and projections to help him explain this scientific theory and shows us that there is more to the universe than meets the eye.

This is a worthy attempt to educate us with the recurring message that adults are failing children by not teaching them that the 'laws' of physics don't always apply, that by looking at physics simplistically we are making a 'devious mistake' and letting down the next generation. Dressed in sandals with socks and a yellow ribbon round his lapel, Lapage tries to put right these wrongs but his approach sadly lacks clarity and excitement and failed to capture my imagination.

The piece seems caught between two motives: explaining Quantum Mechanics and a form of retribution for mistakes Lapage has made with his own children. The link between the two is found at the heart of quantum theory whereby absolutely anything is possible in a parallel universe - some people might not be dead, for example. Whilst this makes for an interesting philosophical theory it results in neither motive being fully fleshed out. At the end of a scientific explanation we were told not to worry if we didn't understand because all would become clear later on, except it didn't and we were left to conclude that, because we can't prove anything, trying to explain it in the first place was pointless.

The lecture is theatrical enough - set to eerie electronic music and mood lighting - but whenever the script reaches a climax we give way to an impressive if unnecessary guitar solo that interrupts proceedings. The delivery at times becomes monotonous with certain lines, such as 'You can never be certain' repeated to the point where it looks like Lapage is in a trance. There were some superfluous sound effects and one moment where coins were pathetically thrown in an attempt at showing frustration which wasn't very believable. When the contents of the box on the stool is revealed, suspense is replaced by disappointment, begging the question why the box was so important to goings-on.

Unfortunately for audiences, this lecture is not for physics experts, nor is it for complete beginners. In conversation with a physics student after the show, he revealed that it was not what he had expected; he hadn't learnt anything new and felt, like me, that there was a lack of clarity. One cannot help but feel sorry for Lapage in that he clearly has the best intentions at heart. His knowledge of Quantum Mechanics leaves him with the hope that things might not be as bad as they seem. I only wish that he had imbued me with the same belief.

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Performances

The Blurb

A scientist, whilst trying to illustrate the most intriguing and fascinating concepts of quantum mechanics coalescing a beautiful world made of mysteries and paradoxes, begins to unravel his deepest personal secrets.

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