You Write The Reviews: Natural Selection, Theatre 503, London

4.00

Wales is no longer Wales and indecisive middle-aged men need therapy for fear of choosing the wrong pasta sauce. At first, you don't quite know where you are, or where you might be going in Natural Selection. Here is much of our world and its issues, but skewed, shaken up and remade into an alternative universe that melds ineffectual terrorists with archaeological digs and evolution theory with the material concerns of the consumer age.

But as we jump between scenes, relationships become apparent and a broad theatrical landscape takes shape. A major archaeological find provides the catalyst. The discovery of one of man's prehistoric relatives, a hominid wonderfully christened "Gary", puts West Anglia (as Wales has been rebaptised) in the public eye, all to the displeasure of Vlad, a diehard terrorist fighting for Welsh freedom, but to the benefit of Dr Harris, expert in emerging biotechnologies. Meanwhile, Mr Brain (he of the pasta sauce problem) and his prissy wife, Fenella, are simply looking for the perfect suit to land him the perfect job.

The play dips into multiple genres – science fiction and comedy are the foremost – and the cast respond ably, both in terms of the multiple characters needed as well as the gradual change in tone, as we move from light-hearted scenes to explore the potentially darker and dystopian repercussions of later events. Daniel Rigby, in particular, rings the character changes with ease, appearing as Vlad, a fast-talking retail assistant, an uptight HR manager, and even a waiter.

Ultimately, the evolution theme proves to be the most dominant strand of Paul Rigel Jenkins's piece. Not only in dramatic terms, where the characters' need to change and adapt is made explicit, but also in identifying the shift in modern man's priorities, as he moves towards material concerns and ever-more rigorous selection processes for these. It is survival of the fittest gone awry. This is thrown into sharp comic light when Fenella ever so casually encourages her husband to visualise their sexual relations as rape, in an attempt to induce his more decisive alpha- male credentials. We laugh, but it also prompts the thought: while we are still evolving, is our humanity slipping?

Natural Selection demonstrates 503's resourcefulness in taking on imaginative and demanding plays for its intimate stage. Tim Roseman directs the piece with assurance, managing the space well and deftly handling his cast amid Libby Watson's spare but brilliantly efficient set design.

To 31 May (020-7978 7040)



Edward Fortes, Proofreader, London

Arts and Entertainment
Wonder.land Musical by Damon Albarn

Theatre

Arts and Entertainment

Film review

Arts and Entertainment
Innocent victim: Oli, a 13-year-old from Cornwall, featured in ‘Kids in Crisis?’
TV review
News
Northern exposure: social housing in Edinburgh, where Hassiba now works in a takeaway
books An Algerian scientist adjusts to life working in a kebab shop
Arts and Entertainment
Terminator Genisys: Arnie remains doggedly true to his word as the man who said 'I'll be back', returning once more to protect Sarah Connor in a new instalment

 

film review
Arts and Entertainment

festivals
Arts and Entertainment

Final Top Gear review

TV
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?
Arts and Entertainment

ebooksNow available in paperback
Arts and Entertainment

ebooks
Arts and Entertainment

music
Arts and Entertainment
Pete Doherty and Carl Barat perform at Glastonbury 2015

music
Arts and Entertainment
Lionel Richie performs live on the Pyramid stage during the third day of Glastonbury Festival

music
Arts and Entertainment
Buying a stairway to Hubbard: the Scientology centre in Los Angeles
film review Chilling inside views on a secretive church
Arts and Entertainment
Jason Williamson, left, and Andrew Fearn of Sleaford Mods
musicYou are nobody in public life until you have been soundly insulted by Sleaford Mods
Arts and Entertainment
Natalie Dew (Jess) in Bend It Like Beckham The Musical
theatreReview: Bend It Like Beckham hits back of the net on opening night
Arts and Entertainment
The young sea-faring Charles Darwin – seen here in an 1809 portrait – is to be portrayed as an Indiana Jones-style adventurer
film
Latest stories from i100
Have you tried new the Independent Digital Edition apps?

ES Rentals

    Independent Dating
    and  

    By clicking 'Search' you
    are agreeing to our
    Terms of Use.

    Is this the future of flying: battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks?

    Is this the future of flying?

    Battery-powered planes made of plastic, and without flight decks
    Isis are barbarians – but the Caliphate is a dream at the heart of all Muslim traditions

    Isis are barbarians

    but the Caliphate is an ancient Muslim ideal
    The Brink's-Mat curse strikes again: three tons of stolen gold that brought only grief

    Curse of Brink's Mat strikes again

    Death of John 'Goldfinger' Palmer the latest killing related to 1983 heist
    Greece debt crisis: 'The ministers talk to us about miracles' – why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum

    'The ministers talk to us about miracles'

    Why Greeks are cynical ahead of the bailout referendum
    Call of the wild: How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate

    Call of the wild

    How science is learning to decode the way animals communicate
    Greece debt crisis: What happened to democracy when it’s a case of 'Vote Yes or else'?

    'The economic collapse has happened. What is at risk now is democracy...'

    If it doesn’t work in Europe, how is it supposed to work in India or the Middle East, asks Robert Fisk
    The science of swearing: What lies behind the use of four-letter words?

    The science of swearing

    What lies behind the use of four-letter words?
    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain: Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won't have him back

    The Real Stories of Migrant Britain

    Clive fled from Zimbabwe - now it won’t have him back
    Africa on the menu: Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the continent

    Africa on the menu

    Three foodie friends want to popularise dishes from the hot new continent
    Donna Karan is stepping down after 30 years - so who will fill the DKNY creator's boots?

    Who will fill Donna Karan's boots?

    The designer is stepping down as Chief Designer of DKNY after 30 years. Alexander Fury looks back at the career of 'America's Chanel'
    10 best statement lightbulbs

    10 best statement lightbulbs

    Dare to bare with some out-of-the-ordinary illumination
    Wimbledon 2015: Heather Watson - 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Heather Watson: 'I had Serena's poster on my wall – now I'm playing her'

    Briton pumped up for dream meeting with world No 1
    Wimbledon 2015: Nick Bollettieri - It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve

    Nick Bollettieri's Wimbledon Files

    It's time for big John Isner to produce the goods to go with his thumping serve
    Dustin Brown: Who is the tennis player who knocked Rafael Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?

    Dustin Brown

    Who is the German player that knocked Nadal out of Wimbeldon 2015?
    Ashes 2015: Damien Martyn - 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Damien Martyn: 'England are fired up again, just like in 2005...'

    Australian veteran of that Ashes series, believes the hosts' may become unstoppable if they win the first Test