Eureka Day

We went to see ‘Eureka Day’ at the Old Vic. Originally produced in 2018 in the USA, it’s about a very progressive, liberal community in Berkeley attached to a school coping (or not) with an outbreak of mumps and conflicts over vaccination. Those issues have gained extra relevance since, of course. The first half is very funny, with a lot of affectionate but sharp parody of how ‘right-thinking’ people get tangled up in discussions of such matters as whether to add an entry to a drop-down menu on ethnicity to cover ‘trans-ethnic adoptee’, and an online discussion that goes badly wrong. I think many Guardian-reading members of the audience enjoyed recognising themselves and their friends (though there were gasps of horror when anti-vax points were made).

The second half gets more serious, as we hear of children seriously ill and worse. Things perhaps get a bit schematic here, with things happening to people in order to provide clear motives for their views. But it’s pretty fair (as poor Don, who keeps trying to lead discussion in positive directions says, ‘nobody in this room is a villain!’) and it remains both engaging and amusing as well as setting out the issues. Lots of nice little touches.

The cast, including Helen Hunt and Mark McKinney, are very good, and I recommend it.