With their tongues firmly in their cheeks, the cast of The Selfish Gene serve up an absolute gem of a show. Jonathan Salway and Dino Kazamia’s book is a humorous adaptation of evolutionary biologist Richard Dawkins’s work The Selfish Gene and is brought to life by music from Richard Macklin.
An unusual premise for a musical I know, but go with it. The show is set around a professor’s lecture on evolution in which he uses the Adamson family as a case study to explore whether it is possible to perform a truly altruistic act, or whether we are all just slaves to our genetic programming.
The script is witty and boy, do the cast make the most of it. Confidently led by Jonathan Bex as the Professor, the cast make knowing looks to the audience in an “isn’t it jolly how we’ve made a musical out of a book on evolution?” sort of a way and interact with the onstage band by emphatically asking, “do we need a song for everything?!” as the keyboard strikes up to play again.
By gently poking fun at musicals in general it is clear that this isn’t a show that takes itself too seriously and The Selfish Gene will attract a wider audience as a result. I for one hope to see The Selfish Gene elsewhere at some point in the future.