The Mould That Changed The World

Aug 13 2018 | By More

★★★★☆   Infectiously Good

theSpace at Surgeons Hall (venue 53): Fri 3 – Sat 25 Aug 2018
Review by Sarah Moyes

The threat of antibiotic resistance may be an unlikely subject for a musical, but The Mould That Changed The World makes this educational topic fun in a highly entertaining new show.

This year marks 90 years since Alexander Fleming discovered penicillin, which is what the show is here to talk about. Produced by Charades Musicals, it was developed by the British Society of Antimicrobial Chemotherapy (BSAC) in collaboration with the University of Edinburgh.

A scene from The Mould That Changed the World. Pic Robert Taylor

A scene from The Mould That Changed the World. Pic: Robert Taylor

The Mould That Changed The World is very appropriately being performed at Surgeons’ Hall. And not only that, but the ensemble includes a chorus of health care professionals ranging from district nurses to microbiologists.

The story begins at a United Nations conference where the President of the UN General Assembly, played by Sarah Barron, sings beautifully about the current situation in antibiotic resistance, before the clock is turned back to the trenches of World War I where we’re met by a chorus of injured soldiers.

The story follows Alexander Fleming’s life from those pre-penicillin days through the years to the present day, and the global health problems that the world currently faces.

Benjamin Froelich gives a strong performance in the role of Alexander Fleming. He’s accompanied by fellow scientists Howard Florey (Ross Jamieson) and Ernst Chain (Matthew Tomlinson) with whom he won the Nobel Prize, and young microbiologist Merlin Pryce (Graham Richardson). They also double in the rolesof soldiers and a Sergeant Major.

the Strep Sisters

The spread of germs is captured brilliantly by Sheila Grant and Sarah Wilkie as the Strep Sisters, who dance their way around the stage in grey leotards and painted faces.

The songs are very, very catchy even if they do include such lines such as “sterilise those beakers, disinfect the glass pipet”. The show also has the welcome addition of a live band on stage – Neil Metcalfe (piano), Jess Conway (violin), Robin Hiley (guitar), May Halyburton (double bass), Chris Rawson (percussion) – that really helps to elevate the songs.

On paper, a musical about antibiotic resistance may not seem like the most entertaining of subjects, but The Mould The Changed The World proves that even informative topics can stand up the with the best of musicals.

A hugely enjoyable and educational show filled with the most infectiously catchy songs.

Running time – 50 minutes
theSpace @Surgeons Hall (Venue 53), Nicolson Street, Edinburgh, EH8 9DW
Friday 3 – Saturday 25 August 2018
Daily, not Sundays: 5.30pm.
Tickets –
Production website:
Facebook: @mouldchangedtheworld
Twitter – @ThatMould


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