03 February 2022
The Old Vic
5.0 out of 5.0 stars
I recently went to see A Number at the Old Vic. It was good to be back to this location after a good while. A Number is one of those plays that really gets into your brain and makes itself comfortable for an extended period of time.
It centres around a young man who has just found out that he was part of a cloning experiment and is trying to come to grips with what this means by speaking to his father and examining his past. It quickly becomes apparent that there are a lot more layers to be peeled back than just the implications of suddenly knowing that identical genetic copies of you walk around this earth. More than that, was he the original? Or one of a number of clones?
The dark history of his family gets revealed bit by bit, with more clones taking the stage at various times. It is such an interesting premise and so brilliantly done. There are so many twists and turns and dark reveals in this play. How would you feel if you suddenly recovered you’re not as unique as you thought you were, just one of many, a copy of someone else’s genes?
Do you have a right to your genetic material and what’s done with it? Or can a father sign it away without thought to the broader consequences? This play will definitely live in my head for some time as I ponder the questions and ideas it has presented me with. What a stunning and thought-provoking show!