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Flux at Greenwich Theatre and on tour

Flux by Smoking Apples. Photo credit: Richard Davenport.

Preview by Lizzie Guilfoyle

SMOKING Apples, a puppetry and visual theatre company that works with difficult, hard-to-digest subject matter, is presenting Flux at Greenwich Theatre (June 15 and 16, 2019) and on tour.

Inspired by interviews with female scientists and the real-life story of Lise Meitner (a physicist who discovered nuclear fission in the late 1930s but whose colleague Otto Hahn was awarded the Nobel Prize for the discovery), Flux charts the story of Kate, a young physicist burning with potential.

She struggles to be noticed until a male colleague uncovers her brilliance and pushes her forward. But, just as Kate begins to excel professionally, the balance between life and work suddenly flips.

Smoking Apples use extraordinary life-size puppetry, an electrifying set of shadow and light and a filmic score to tell Kate’s story as she navigates what it means to be a woman in a male dominated environment.

Since 2018 was the anniversary of women’s suffrage, Smoking Apples challenged themselves to create a piece about a woman, exploring how puppetry can express the objectification of the female form, and work for the first time with an entirely female cast.

With a dynamic, tetris-like set based on the periodic table, a blend of live action and shadow puppetry and a thumping 80’s soundtrack by award-winning composer Jon Ouin, Flux explores the ever-resonant story of a woman fighting to be heard.

The cast includes Anne Condé, Molly Freeman, Matthew Lloyd and Hattie Thomas.

Molly from the company said: “Flux has been in the making for a while and we’re hugely excited to be travelling around the UK with it, touring is when our shows really come to life. Everyone knows someone like Kate, whether that’s you, a sister or partner, so I think that makes her story easy to connect with. Although the show is set in 1980’s, it shines a spotlight on how many of the issues she faces are still a problem today and how much further we’ve got to go. If people can come away feeling like they can relate to Kate and her story, like they’ve shared that with each other and with us on stage, that would be amazing.”

The tour opens in Tonbridge (April 25) before continuing to Didcot, Kendal, Whitehaven, Peterborough, Maidenhead, Maidstone, Canterbury, Cheltenham, Milton Keynes, Louth, Walton on Thames, London (Greenwich Theatre), Salford and Cockermouth (June 22).

Flux is suitable for ages 11+.

Running Time: 1 hour.

Image: Flux by Smoking Apples. Photo credit: Richard Davenport.