Writer: Peter Norgate
Director: Lavinia Hollands
Reviewer: Phil Goodwin
Nothing better illustrates the destructive nature of our relentless and unsustainable consumption than a stricken sea creature entangled in plastic waste. But even after years of seeing these shocking images, the question of how to stop littering the oceans with discarded packaging remains the pressing eco problem of our age.
Issue-based theatre company Constructive Interference puts its shoulder to the campaign by humanising some of the marine victims and reminding us that we can change. Let Me Show You opens with the chance meeting on a Singapore beach of breathlessly cocky teenage tourist Julia and the slightly older Meor who is desperately searching the floating plastic detritus in search of his lost fisherman father.
Anne Chafer’s Julia angers local boy Meor (Damian Schedler Cruz) by casually tossing a sweet wrapper away then she fails to ignore his repeated warnings of how dangerous the sea has become. Lost in a nightmare undersea world, darkened by tonnes of plastic, she encounters three harbingers of our global doom. These ghosts of Ocean’s dystopian future – a feisty young salmon, Smolt, the bewildered Turtle and their prowling leader, Tigress – seem as confused about their plight as are we to the solution.
Monika Brodowska’s Tigress implores Julia to accept her fate but Evelyn Bonella’s pitifully tangled Turtle, and the youthful pluck of Marina O’Shea’s Smolt combine to restore her faith. The emboldened teen is spat back with a fresh outlook on the world and a warning for humanity:
If nobody does anything, then nothing will happen. But if everybody does something, then something will happen.
It is an important and timely message for a new generation that the carelessness of the past must not be continued: if the looming ecological disaster is to be averted then an enthusiastic can-do attitude will be required. This hour-long studio production is performed without a set, just plastic bags strewn across the stage, and flows in and around the audience with genuine energy, Meor’s fishing rod flicking within inches of the audience with each cast. The performers could be forgiven for being slightly distracted by one or two toddlers, who had escaped the over-5’s age limit and were amusing themselves by playing noisily with the plastic sheeting.
The show is heartfelt but faced with the sensory overload of TV documentaries such as Our Planet, tackling this difficult issue with low-fi theatre is a challenge. Perhaps a more expansive staging would better transport us to the undersea world and involve us in the action.
Let Me Show You takes us into the watery realm we are quickly destroying and considers its unfortunate inhabitants. It is a worthy attempt to add depth to the social and political issue, urging co-operation and hope by engaging young people, but the story and its characters fail to move us deeply.
Nevertheless, it is part of the solution, not the problem and should perhaps be considered a contribution to the collective “something” which must be done if anything is to change.
Reviewed on 25 May 2019 | Image: Contributed