The Survival of the Funniest in Solo Show; Charles Darwin Sings Ditties and Cracks Gags in John Hinton's Take on the Famous Naturalist, as He Tells TAMZIN LEWIS

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Byline: TAMZIN LEWIS

JOHN Hinton is keen for previews to include its proper title, and as I am a pushover, here you go...

The Origin of Species by Means of Natural Selection or...The Survival of (R)evolutionary Theories in the Face of Scientific and Ecclesiastical Objections: Being a Musical Comedy about Charles Darwin (1809-1882).

So that will have either made you turn the page or, like me, you are slightly intrigued by the idea of a Darwinian musical comedy.

It sounds madcap but the playwright and actor prides himself on his research, and the solo show is based on real events in Darwin's life.

"This is not a character study," he says. "He was a very shy man who didn't like public lectures. Doing a naturalistic portrait would have been another route to go down. "This is my take on his character. In my play, Darwin chats about his life and occasionally picks up the guitar and sings a song."

The conceit of the show is that the audience are playing the part of naturalists observing the work of Darwin. "This allows very real involvement, " John says. "There are lots of quick character changes, improvised song sections and it is also jolly funny. …