In 1977 the Golden Record was launched on the Voyager probe in the hope of being discovered by alien life, it was recorded in a way that would communicate to them as well as actually play some prolific tracks. Inflatable Space is based on the true story of the time Thaddeus Phillips contacted Steve Howard, head of Voyager Mission control to discuss the Hydrogen atom, and thereby culminate this high-concept physical theatre.
A visually perplexing odyssey exploring space, time and our human condition, from internationally acclaimed theatre artist, Thaddeus Phillips, Inflatable Space begins with the inflation of a dome or pod before our very eyes, filling the stage. Representing the Voyager satellite at many points throughout the hour show, the dome becomes somewhat of a performer in its own right. Phillips and Howard get lost in a universe of inflatables, shadow play, miniatures and microphones in this visual delight. Sadly, much of the detail and conversation about the atom is sitting at a level higher than I am feeling comfortable, and this is where it fits in the programme of the Fringe. Specialist in its nature, despite the pleasing visuals, this show is one for the more scoietifically minded, as it addresses our culture and scientific desires.
The more interesting elements of Inflatable Space for me were revolving around the lack of resources NASA now have, focussing on their diminishing of staff, and the scene in Howard’s office whereby he awkwardly requests Thaddeus take his bins out, there is no cleaner to do that now, added more to the show than any other. His office is a tiny cubicle overlooking a Pasadena car park to chat space, the golden record and the human condition, highlighting the change in priorities in the US over the years.
An interesting piece of physical theatre, which you certainly need the headspace for, Inflatable Space consumes much of the vacuum of a Fringe-filled brain, and is one certainly for a more specialist audience.
You can see Inflatable Space at Assembly Roxy, Central: 31st July – 26th August at 4:15pm. For tickets, please visit www.edfringe.com