Presented by Ladyville Productions
Statistics is a one-act musical that hit with an emotional force that took me completely by surprise. It tracks the struggle of two female scientists— existing over half a century apart—and explores themes of determination, human connection and passion for medicine.
Through her research, Rosalind Franklin (Rachel Mundy) contributed greatly to the discovery of DNA in 1951. Contending with misogyny and illness, she missed out on the Nobel Prize. Rose Anderson (Maddie Sekulin), a driven pre-med student inspired by Franklin, almost looses a friendship while caught up in the fierce competition of medical school admissions.
Mundy and Sekulin give refined and exuberant musical theatre performances. As her student union friend Angie, Colette Richardson serves as a persuasive foil for Rose. The cast is rounded out by a trio of men—Julian Da Silva (Gosling), Michael Manning (Wilkins), Nam Nguyen (Crick)—who serve as a student assistant and competitive colleagues in Rosalind’s ambitious though short career. Each highlights colourful idiosyncrasies that give rich entertainment value to even background action.
With music and lyrics by Shreya Jha, the songs are catchy and dynamic. In her book, Jha has structured the story brilliantly. Both timelines are given equal weight and their thematic links resonate. Rose’s essay on Franklin is a clever device to gradually draw them together. The finale, which left me a blubbering mess, unites them with an overwhelming cathartic intensity.
With no set except for a microscope-topped desk, director Shannon Henley-Dunbar focuses on the strength of the writing and performances. With the exception of a school-yard teasing scene that has the men prancing menacingly, even movement is limited to a modest yet compelling naturalism.
Statistics is thematically potent and very moving.