THE notion that in the 1950s Marilyn Monroe, her husband Joe DiMaggio, a celebrated baseball player, Senator Joe McCarthy of the repugnant Un-American Activities Committee and the distinguished scientist Albert Einstein might meet in a New York hotel room for a series of interactions and conversations is surely risible.

Yet this scenario is the one imagined by writer Terry Johnson resulting in his play ‘Insignificance’ which won him critical plaudits in the early 1980s when first staged in London, and later it became a hit movie that was nominated for a Palme d’Or.

This latest rather spiffing theatrical production directed by Kate Wasserberg in Mold demonstrates just how on several levels the confrontations and verbal jousting between the protagonists still has potent relevance that surprises and amuses.

In fact Johnson never actually named the characters but that wasn't necessary.

It is in many ways an emotional rollercoaster particularly when embracing the emotional fragility and conflicts that shaped the relationship of Monroe and DiMaggio, never mind the manic nature of McCarthy whose demonising of America’s intelligentsia leaves a stain on that country’s contemporary history.

And Einstein, branded a Soviet stooge, was himself vulnerable and is here played with considerable aplomb by Brendan Charleson.

Wirral Globe: Brendan Charleson as Einstein with Sophie Melville as Monroe

Wasserberg has completely nailed the essence of Johnson’s work, which is enhanced by a really top-notch cast: there is a chemistry that fizzes like a sparkler between all four participants and each has that magnetic attribute that engrosses those watching.

Sophie Melville, relatively fresh out of drama school, is simply sublime as Marilyn and Christian Patterson as the loathsome McCarthy has splendidly picked up on characteristics that we all imagine defined the man, and the era.

At the same time there is – if you’ll pardon the pun – a pitch-perfect portrayal of Monroe’s passionate if rather unsophisticated spouse Di Maggio by Ben Deery.

Wirral Globe: Ben Deery as Joe DiMaggio

Impossible to pinpoint any one of them as exceptional, or even first rate; it is a superlative group effort all round.

The play begins, in this instance, with the soundtrack of David Bowie’s Starman, which under the circumstances is most appropriate.

And while the garlands are being strewn, one can be laid at the feet the production crew with designer Amy Jane Cook deserving a special pat on the back.

This is the kind of production that emphasises how live, breathing theatre, more so than film, can captivate an audience and keep them gripped to the last fading light.

Terrific stuff.

At Theatr Clwyd, Emlyn Williams Theatre, Mold, until Saturday, October 15.

Evenings at 7.45pm.

Matinees: Saturdays at 2.45pm and Thursday, October 13, at 2.45pm.

Box office: Tel: 01352 701 521

Online booking:

Photos by Catherine Ashmore.