As a pioneering scientist with a strong story of discovery and of tragedy, Marie Curie would appear to be a good choice for a musical. And, in certain respects it is, but there are too many questionable choices in this production to allow this new musical to, dare I say glow.

This is a musical where the singing is some of the best around, but most of the songs, and especially the lyrics and book are weak. It feels that in translation from its original language some of the subtlety of the story and the dialogue have been lost. There are exceptions such as Radium Paradise, where the production lifts and the tender moments when the Polish workers lament their fate is also touching and memorable. But too much of it is sounding like an attempt at doing Sondheim and not quite getting there.

Having two female characters leading the show is a strong choice and Ailsa Davidson as Marie and Chrissie Bhima as her friend Anne Kowalska are both truly excellent, but in doing this Marie’s scientific and marital relationship with Pierre Curie played by Thomas Josling is somewhat side-lined and underdeveloped. This is also highlighted in the way the show speeds through certain parts of Curie’s scientific struggles and discoveries, but then dwells the tragedies that unfold when Radium is killing its factory workers. Important though this is it creates an obvious imbalance in the storytelling. As a result, its 105 minutes running time feels too short to tell all that it wants to tell.

With an already huge success in its original language in Seoul, in shrinking it down in scale to the small stage at the Charing Cross Theatre it feels cramped, and as such becomes a frantic, and at times a clunky production. The moving two-tier set, designed by Rose Montgomery cleverly allows it to adapt to the multiple locations. Then with some strong lighting from Prema Mehta create wonderful pictures, but when you add Matt Powell’s scientific projections too, it at times confuses rather than clarifies.

There is certainly enough in this show to make it worth seeing, but as a fully formed new musical it has a way to go.