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Our Digital Marketing Executive Maaike van Kuijk has just got back from seeing the preview of a truly unique theatre performance at the Natural History Museum and gives us her exclusive review.

The Wider Earth tells the story of a young Charles Darwin, embarking on an adventure of a lifetime, on board HMS Beagle; he set sail on a voyage that changed history. There are a few things that make this play so special. Not only the extraordinary tale, but also the fact that it is staged at the Natural History Museum – the custodian of Darwin’s legacy – and that it uses some remarkable puppets to bring ‘Darwin’s creatures’ to life; all of this combined make for a terrific show.
As I was watching the story unfold on stage, I realised how little I actually knew about the work and the journey that formed the basis for Darwin’s Theory of Natural Selection. How a young man, only 22 years of age at the time, was so incredibly passionate about the natural world around him that he was willing to put his life, as he knew it, on hold and embark on what would become a five-year-long journey around the world. The journey of the HMS Beagle and all the places the crew visit are mapped out really well with large animations in the background, and made it feel like we, as audience members, were part of the expedition.

I was especially fascinated with how the actors displayed the struggle Darwin must have faced when he realised that what he had discovered would quite literally change the world, as people knew it. With a society strongly based on religion at the time, I cannot even begin to imagine the pressure he must have felt and the psychological burden it caused him.

But finally, let’s just talk about the animals, because they were something else. We watched an armadillo roll up into a ball, iguanas curiously walking around the rainforest and blue-footed boobies flying over the Galápagos Islands – it was Darwin’s visit to these islands that had a resounding impact on the formation of his Theory of Natural Selection. Yes, the animal puppets really were the highlight of the play and Darwin’s fascination for these creatures really managed to rub off on me.

If you’d like to see this spectacle for yourself, enter our prize-draw, in partnership, with The Wider Earth and the Natural History Museum, to be in for a chance to win four tickets to see The Wider Earth. Plus, if you’re unlucky in our prize-draw, we are also offering a 10% booking discount using the code TWEfriends. Simply apply the promotional code when checking out on The Wider Earth website.



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