‘unapologetically cerebral’ ★★★
Math Sams and Emma Mulkern in The View From Nowhere at Park Theatre, London. Photo: Jamie Scott Smith
Taking its title from a philosophical treatise on objectivity, The View from Nowhere is a thought provoking examination of clashing egos and conflicted interests.
Despite an overwrought tone and occasionally didactic script, director Dan Phillips and writer Chuck Anderson – who collaborated previously on 2014’s troubling refugee camp drama Warehouse of Dreams – successfully sketch out an intractable but intriguing ethical dilemma.
The story follows unorthodox scientist Prez, whose research into carcinogenic pesticides incriminates the multinational chemical corporation which funds his research. Mensah Bediako imbues the larger than life Prez with real presence, projecting swaggering intellectual assurance while hinting at a festering inferiority complex stemming from his deprived background.
Beside him, Emma Mulkern’s post-doctoral researcher Sandy struggles to separate her passion for science from hero worship. As their professional relationship disintegrates, her ferocious ambition movingly gives way to brittle isolation. Nina Toussaint-White, meanwhile, makes a determined effort to humanise ruthless corporate agent Rona, but still ends up a caricature of amoral capitalism – at one point advising a distraught Sandy to get a life and go shopping.
Though committed, the cast lack confidence with the script’s scientific terminology, stumbling over lines with uncomfortable regularity.
Scenes play out in the round on May Jennifer Davies’ clinical, uncluttered set, which centres on a circular plinth suggestive of an oversized petri dish. The impression is heightened by projections which carpet the stage with images of gently drifting cells – one of many deft touches in an unapologetically cerebral production which certainly does not lack for ideas.