Alice (Olivia Williams) is a British scientist living in Geneva. As the Large Hadron Collider starts up in 2008, she is on the brink of the most exciting work of her life, searching for the Higgs Boson. Higgs Boson, for the uninitiated, is a particle that was discovered by a guy called, well, Higgs and I’m pretty sure it has something to do with modelling the ultimate fate of the universe… I had to Google that. Jenny (Olivia Colman) is Alice’s sister. She lives in Luton and, like me, spends a lot of time Googling.

Mosquitoes, a new play by Lucy Kirkwood (Chimerica), has the potential, at least in theory, to be a pseudo intellectual work which scares away intending theatre goers with it’s scientific premise. In practice, however, Mosquitoes is a leveller. This is an attacking, well intending, violent and caring piece of prose about collision and chaos at all levels of life.

Photography by Brinkhoff Mogenburg

Expertly weaving emotional responses with IQ and familial interplay, Lucy Kirkwood has written an impeccable, humorous (didn’t get the Heisenberg joke though) and all-consuming work. Women serve as the play’s most vital components with motherhood, sisterhood and reproduction centring the work. Kirkwood’s use of symbolism throughout – interweaving phrases and signee – is artfully applied, as an apple takes on layered and infinite (well maybe not infinite, I’m not a scientist) meaning. Reshuffling and inverting roles of motherhood and childishness, Kirkwood’s latest work breathes humour into traditional concepts of familial (and molecular) structures.

In Mosquitoes, director Rufus Norris plays to the audience’s senses, adopting strobe lighting and a carefully mixed audio track. Audio and visual cues tap into something primal, or at the very least, stimulating for the viewer. Presenting Mosquitoes in the round is absolutely the correct choice structurally for such a mobile work, and while his direction is not overly ambitious, Norris does allow the cast a lot of breathing space on stage – a noted strength of the work.

Photography by Brinkhoff Mogenburg

Both Olivia Williams and Olivia Coleman are fixating. The neuroticism and patience of Alice (Olivia Williams), the scientist who believes in God, is counter argued by Jenny’s (Olivia Coleman) dependency and zaniness. The vicious and vindicating interchange between these actors is palpable. Sisters if ever I saw them – horrifically cruel, startlingly loyal. Special mention also goes to Alice’s son Luke (Joseph Quinn), a new talent with real ability and great range.

Dealing with massive themes of evolution, existentialism and extinction, it’s hard to imagine that Mosquitoes could also be termed as a comedic work. A challenge, a joy and a conundrum, viewers can expect an evening of chaotic interchange as players attempt to make sense of our world in a little under 2 hours 50 minutes.

Mosquitoes plays at the Dorfman, National Theatre until 28th September.