If you're used to thinking of the father of evolution as a bearded, elderly man, The Wider Earth will give you a different and all together more exciting view.
Charting the young Charles Darwin's experiences as he sails from Plymouth to the Amazon, Tierra del Feugo,Galapagos Islands and more, this multi-media production presents Darwin as a young man wrestling with science, love and his religious convictions.
All the human performances are good, and the animal puppetry adds another dimension that conveys Darwin's sense of wonder as he discovers the beauties of nature outside his English home. Butterflies flutter in the Amazon rainforest, sharks and fish swim through imaginary oceans, seagulls swoop on high and, of course, Galapagos turtles lumber across stage.
The audience was entranced throughout at the performance I saw, with my 12- and 14-year old sons suitably impressed. The script is a fairly straightforward chronology of Darwin's voyage, but that story alone has enough twists and turns to leave my older boy asking if all the details were true (think fires, storms, near mutinies, impassioned missionaries, and more).
As far as I know, all performances in this run are sold out, but if another season is announced, I'd urge you to snap up tickets as soon as possible.