Theatre Review: God's Dice, Soho Theatre, W1

Theatre Review: God's Dice, Soho Theatre, W1

David Baddiel is best known for his laceratingly honest comedy. God's Dice is the polymath's first play and while there are a few good gags in it, despite it being written by someone who is best known as a comedian and starring comedian Alan Davies, this is actually a very serious play about belief in an age when the very notion of belief seems up for grabs.

Davies plays shaggy-haired middle-aged physics lecturer Henry, who encounters a Christian student Edie (Leila Mimmack). Between them they come up with a thesis that biblical miracles such as turning water into wine are actually – albeit it at a push – sceintifically possible. The result is a best-selling book and a subsequent following for Henry that borders on the fanatical – in fact in the case of a barista believer who starts genuflecting when he meets him, it is positively fanatical.

It's a relatively simple premise – exploring the links between science and religion – well performed by the cast, which also includes Nitin Ganatra as old school lecherous lecturer Tim and and Alexandra Gilbreath as Henry's sparky atheist wife Virginia. And yet somehow it does not quite fit together. One is waiting for fireworks but it takes a long time to hits its stride.

There are some striking moments, but James Grieve's direction lacks real drama or, until the end, much tension. It's very much a wordy piece – when it isn't the actors talking it is tweets, words and equations on a wipeboard, or a clip of eloquent scientist Richard Feynman on a screen at the side of the stage. 

Baddiel, as one might expect, is very good with words and the ideas here are intriguing too. Maybe a slightly different version would have more impact. At the start of the play Henry talks about the concept of infinite worlds – if you've never won the lottery, for example, don't fret, you probably have in another world. In which case perhaps David Baddiel shouldn't worry too much. Maybe in a parallel world God's Dice is a critical smash.

Until November 30. Buy tickets here.

Pictured: Alan Davies (Henry) and Leila Mimmack (Edie). Picture by Helen Maybanks.

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