A U.K. Review in [exactly] 250 Words: "Square Rounds"

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Harriet Wilson

  • United Kingdom Theatre Critic

Currently playing at London’s Finborough Theatre, Square Rounds is a clever, quirky play which is for the most part very enjoyable. The first act is a lot stronger than the second, changing with more ease between the comedic and the sinister elements of the show. The second act, conversely, seems bogged down with the historic details of this story’s more tragic elements, and some of the show’s character is lost towards the end.

The play’s biggest strength by far is that it is performed (almost) entirely in verse. This element brings energy and colour to the show which a larger production could get from staging. Performed as playful poems, even the occasional reel of scientific and historic information seems surprisingly entertaining.

The staging of Square Rounds is limited. Finborough Theatre is a tiny venue above a pub; but, performed as it is, the play would be lost on a larger stage. The reliance of the show on its dialogue is fortunate in this sense, though some may prefer a more balanced production.

Square Rounds feels random at times, but the character of Fritz Haber, played superbly by the charismatic Philippa Quinn, just about manages to keep everything together (or at least, together enough). Eva Feiler’s performance as Justus von Liebig is another highlight, and the rest of the cast play their respective roles with energy and charm.

Though not without faults, Square Rounds is enjoyable, and its uniqueness is definitely appealing. Square Rounds is playing until the 29th September 2018.