Review: Secret Life of Humans

New Diorama Theatre in co-production with Greenwich Theatre
Pleasance Courtyard, Edinburgh, 7 – 28 Aug

4 Stars (4 / 5)

David Byrne’s new play Secret Life of Humans, for which he also directs the New Diorama Theatre ensemble, was written in response to the rapid political, economic and social changes of humankind in the last century. The play converges three different time periods–a couple’s one night stand, the career of Bruno Bronowski, and the history of humankind.

The topic of exploration may seem intellectual and mundanely academic. However, Secret Life of Humans is a beautiful play, both in writing and performance. Throughout the hour, the studio disappears and transports the audience from the beginning of Man to the present. At moments, they see themselves from the perspective of Gods, encompassing what we understand and what we fear in a single, powerful image. Jen McGinley’s set design and Zakk Hein’s projection design enhance the audience’s imagination and allow for fluid transitions.

Simple but exquisite, Secret Life of Humans is gorgeous, mind-tingling, gentle and theatrical all at the same time.