Review: Twinkle Twonkle, at the The Mac, Birmingham
In 1959, when CP Snow delivered his landmark lecture, The Two Cultures, he could not have suspected that in 51 years’ time his argument would be used as the basis for a children’s play called Twinkle Twonkle.
Okay, I’m not entirely sure the author of Twinkle Twonkle was thinking about Snow when writing this entertaining and clever piece of theatre.
But the ‘50s intellectual and the new kid’s play make much the same case.
Snow argued that the sciences and humanities were no longer working in harmony with one another.
Boffins had little time for Shakespeare, while the arty crowd didn’t have a clue about the theories of Einstein.
In other words, he claimed that two separate cultures had grown up in Britain, and there was little communication between the two.
Which brings me to Twinkle Twonkle. (Honest, it does.)
TT is about a little girl called Stella, and her even younger brother, Ryan.
Stella has a passion for studying the solar system through her telescope, while Ryan adores nursery rhymes.
Big sis is more than a little bit sniffy about Ryan’s ‘silly’ pastime.
Then one day Ryan climbs all the way up Stella’s telescope and escapes into the stars. His concerned sibling follows in his wake.
Up in the night sky she discovers that her rational, scientific mind can learn a lot from the fantasy world championed by Ryan.
In other words, frivolity can bond with facts. Imagination is just as important as investigation.
It’s almost as though Snow’s two cultures have found common currency at last – up amongst the firmament.
Of course, this is just a stodgy old adult’s interpretation of Twinkle Twonkle.
My son, Ben, merely witnessed a marvellous adventure about a boy and a girl playing in the stars.
Even though there were only two cast members, and a very basic use of scenery, Ben was still whisked into a world of wow and wonder.
I bet that would never have happened if I’d dragged him along to a lecture by CP Snow.