REVIEW: A Number

John Shrapnel

Lex Shrapnel

First published in Entertainments

THIS play about cloning raises many interesting questions and it keeps you enthralled throughout its 55 minutes. A Number is a two-actor play about a young man who finds out he was cloned and confronts his father about it.

Played by real-life father and son John and Lex Shrapnel, Caryl Churchill’s work explores the ethics of cloning and looks at the meaning of identity, the debate between nature and nurture and the dynamics of father-son relationships.

The scenes start off cryptically, as you try to work out which of “a number”

of clones you are watching, but the drama unfolds fantastically.

The older Shrapnel plays the father, Salter, with perfect unease and paternal guilt, while his son does well to portray three different versions of Bernard. Mention has to be given to Tom Scutt’s very clever set design. The design is ingenious. It’s almost like watching a scientific experiment unfold.

You will want to stay up to discuss it long after you’ve left the theatre.



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