Off-Broadway Theater Review: THAT PHYSICS SHOW (The Elektra Theatre)

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by Dmitry Zvonkov on March 9, 2016

in Theater-New York


For parents who recall Professor Julius Sumner Miller’s television programs with nostalgia, who wish the Science Channel had more science shows, and for whom quality time with their kids includes watching YouTube videos in which the laws of physics are demonstrated using everyday objects, Dave Maiullo’s That Physics Show, produced and directed by Eric Krebs, will likely make for a worthwhile outing. Although geared more towards young people—parents aside, at the matinee I attended the audience age range was from 6 to 16—this middle-aged critic was engaged throughout; a few seats away a lone man of pensionable age clapped and hopped with delight the whole show.

David Maiullo & Kelsey Lanedies in THAT PHYSICS SHOW David Maiullo stars in THAT PHYSICS SHOW

A specialist in physics demonstrations at Rutgers University, Mr. Maiullo reworks a number of experiments familiar to fans of the genre; indeed, versions of these can be found on the internet and in classrooms throughout the country. Yet this doesn’t detract much from seeing them performed live on stage. We get demonstrations of Newton’s laws with the help of such items as a hammer, a lead brick, a bowling ball. We see that sitting down on motionless rotating stool while holding a spinning bicycle wheel will make the stool rotate—who knew?

David Maiullo starring in THAT PHYSICS SHOW. David Maiullo in THAT PHYSICS SHOW.

We get a go-cart powered by a fire extinguisher. Watch the mesmerizing, eccentric movements of a double pendulum. Observe liquid nitrogen roll harmlessly off Mr. Maiullo’s hand, then freeze roses in a matter of seconds. There are experiments with friction, acceleration, light waves—visible light, infrared, ultraviolet (audience members are issued special glasses which make looking at light sources a novel experience). The density of air is made impressive when, inside a vacuum tube, it sends a ping pong ball smashing through empty beer cans at 700 miles per hour. Sound waves are made visible with dancing flames.

David Maiullo stars in THAT PHYSICS SHOW David Maiullo in THAT PHYSICS SHOW

There are many more demonstrations, enough to hold one’s attention for the show’s 90 minutes. And although from a theatrical standpoint the program could use more dramatic build, as a fun, educational experience for young and old (who don’t mind paying the $39 to $49 price tag) That Physics Show delivers. And if you do go with children, my advice is, sit close to the stage.

Kelsey Lanedies and David Maiullo in THAT PHYSICS SHOW

David Maiullo & Kelsey Lanedies in THAT PHYSICS by Donnell Culver

That Physics Show
The Elektra Theatre
300 West 43rd St
open run
for tickets, call 866.811.4111 or visit Physics

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