The Necessity of Atheism

necessityofatheism The Necessity of Atheism
by Sean Lang
The Space at Surgeons Hall
15-20 August 1210-1250
£8 (£6)
The Necessity of Atheism by Sean Lang is a farce about the romantic poet Percy Shelley during his days as a young student at Oxford University. Set during the height of the Napoleonic Wars in 1811, it sees Shelley somewhat rashly circulating a very controversial pamphlet asking for proof of God around the University. This attracts the attention of the ultra-Tory Lord Eldon for whom the pamphlet is seditious treason. Smarting from an apple thrown at him by an unknown malcontent, Eldon is determined to find the pamphet’s author and punish him severely.
This all sounds very grim, but in fact this is a light comedy with a timely message in these days of trigger warnings, safe spaces and restrictions on freedom of speech, freedom of assembly, the right to criticise the negative aspects of religion and the ‘right’ not to be offended. Shelley was not himself an atheist, but he argued that for freedom to exist, society has to allow people to profess and argue that God does not exist.
This is an enjoyable knockabout farce that nevertheless gives the audience something to think about on the way home.
**** Four Stars
Reviewed by David Kerr

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