Tom Neenan: The Andromeda Paradox



Pleasance Dome, Edinburgh

Professor Bernard Andromeda has devoted his life to researching strange phenomena – so when a mysterious prehistoric artefact is discovered in a disused London tube station, his curiosity is immediately aroused – especially when said artefact is inscribed with his name. He sets about trying to discover its origins and finds himself embroiled in a mystery that will challenge his scientific beliefs to the core, one that leads to the realisation that alien forces are at work. Soon much of the population of London has been turned into hordes of zombies all chanting his name and he is the only man who can avert disaster…

Tom Neenan has written a wonderfully affectionate parody of Nigel Kneale’s landmark sci-fi tale, The Quatermass Experiment, in which he plays all the characters – from a strange German professor who has taken his experiments with flowers a bit too far, to Andromeda’s adoring female assistant who is prepared to use her feminine charms to help him solve the mystery. Neenan is an expert story teller and he milks the comic potential of the 50s setting with great skill, aided and abetted by a script that is laugh-out-loud funny – the scene where one of Neenan’s hands transforms into an adorable alien creature… ‘no bigger than my hand,’ is a particular delight. There’s wonderful stagecraft here too. A whole range of locations are evoked simply by the positioning of a table and chair and Neenan’s sweet posh-boy persona is exploited to the hilt.

The performance is peppered with plenty of in-jokes but you don’t need to be familiar with the original material in order to enjoy this deliciously silly slice of nonsense, which is designed to appeal to people of all ages. Fabulous stuff, I urge you to catch it.

4.5 stars

Philip Caveney

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