REVIEW: The Mould that Changed the World (Surgeon’s Hall) ★★★★

It’s quite a bold title and aptly staged at the Surgeon’s Hall. The show begins at a UN conference for Anti-Microbial Resistance (AMR), which is at once a curious place to start, considering that this is a musical. Yes that’s right. Musical theatre. About antibiotics. Stay with me.

The action goes right to the dawn of the discovery of penicillin and through the trials and tribulations of Alexander Flemming starting with his hypothesis, the resistance from his colleagues and his eventual Nobel Prize. It’s great for people who aren’t aware of the complexity of the journey and what a monumental effect that antibiotics have had worldwide.

As the history part concludes, the show starts to place the focus on personal responsibility, particularly under an implication of the struggling NHS and patients’ demands. A pin may have been put in the ethics of industrial antibiotics and farming, but it’s quite difficult to open such a political discussion in this medium, although they’ve given the rest a pretty brilliant shot.

Vocally all of the cast were on point and I question the use of individual microphones, as those in the chorus who weren’t equipped with them and had the odd solo line were perfectly clear, and some who were mic’d up had their delivery distorted by technical shortcomings.

However, very much my lasting impressions: Informative, educational, funny, silly and delightful, with highlights being the Great War Zombie Army, a team of pernicious dancing bacteria and some hilarious scientific fun-poking to a very sold out, appreciative and engaged audience. It is a great show, which is perfectly pitched for schools and young science enthusiasts. Definitely worth seeing if you’re a musical fan, or a geek. Or both.

Who knew you could make a musical about mould?!

The Mould that Changed the World 17:30 Surgeon’s Hall

Reviewed by Lou-Lou Mason

Lou-Lou is a director, copywriter and dramaturg. Her current show Fallout by Serena Haywood, starring Katie Richardson is at Free Fringe: Laughing Horse @ The Phoenix, 2:45 daily.


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