Writers: Young Everyman Playhouse
Directors: Matt Rutter and Chris Tomlinson
Reviewer: Jamie Gaskin
It seems ironic that a show urging us to save the planet should be bursting with energy. The Young Everyman Theatre (YEP) is nothing if not fuelled by hi-octane actors. The directors claim that the show strives to be carbon neutral. It is recycled out of their earlier production Kick It Out, and when you do politics the Environment is sure to follow. Not only do directors Matt Rutter and Chris Tomlinson cultivate the joy of performing, there is also that touch of stage discipline that is so essential to a good show.
Movement Director Grace Goulding neatly executes the big set pieces with over 40 on stage. These are stirring pieces of choreographed physical theatre very typical of YEP productions. The overall message from these big numbers and the vignettes are that we can all play our part. It continually assails greenhouse gas dissenters with the chant “Do it anyway, you may save the world.”
Along the way we meet a TV-watching Scouse mum to die for, Recycle Michael and Eco Jo. The Best sketch is a Jeremy Kyle parody that is wickedly well-observed with its “Keremy Jyle” presenter a joy to watch for the detail in his performance. He referees a war between a vegetarian and his partner whom he is trying to wean off meat addiction.
Another delightful set piece is the UN meetings about The Environment brimming with self-interest and self-adulation. But these might be too close to the truth for comfort. They featured some well-crafted personalities developed by the team. Humanity is put on trial with witness Mr Iceberg making a very theatrical comic tearful threat to raise the ocean levels and imperil the next generation.
Perhaps the funniest moment is seeing a very lonely jellyfish seeking loving companionship but only finding a series of plastic bags. Designer Heledd Rees makes the most of the cavernous space and its setting with her piles of rubbish without overawing the thrust of the production.
This 90-minute straight through run could have done with a bit of blue pencil towards the end – when it didn’t seem to quite know how to finish. Despite a claim not to be preachy some of the polemic is a little heavy-handed, but overall a wonderful show for the very talented teenagers to showcase their talent.
A show that is not so much full of food for thought as thoughts about food – and much more.
Runs until 5March 2016 | Image: Contributed