I heartily applaud the Science Museum for staging this revival of Sound & Fury's acclaimed 2012 piece – it's a near-perfect fit and hopefully one of many theatrical ventures at the venue.
This being said, there was something rather flat about the opening night performance. Perhaps it was due to the momentary distraction of a fainting audience member (my companion, a doctor, had to rush into action); more likely it was down to this being the first of five performances and the production is yet to fully find its feet.
Nevertheless, Hattie Naylor's play still makes for an affecting evening, staged partly in total darkness, about the impact of encroaching blindness on the father of a young boy. The boy is only a voice, weaved eerily into Dan Jones' stunning soundscape, while the father, Max (co-creator Tom Espiner – succeeding John Mackay), is a credible and likeable solo presence.
Max works as an astronomer at the local planetarium, so between scenes with his son we get an introductory lesson in the history of the universe and the constellations. The analogy between the dimming galaxies and Max's fading eyesight may be a tad coarse, but when he demands the show be stopped due to a technical glitch – he can't see the stars that brightly pepper the ceiling – only the hardest of hearts will not be stirred.
Although, for me, Going Dark doesn't hit the immersive heights of the company's predecessor at the Young Vic, the submarine-set Kursk, it's still a thoughtfully staged meditation on astronomy and the human condition. I can think of few shows I'd sooner recommend for parents of inquisitive children.
Going Dark continues at the Science Museum until 9 March