Posts Tagged ‘The Power of Yes’

When you’re passionate about a subject, you can become evangelical to ‘spread the word’ and have the opposite effect i.e. put people off rather than turn them on. Such is Greenland, a play about climate change (with a dreadfully corny title) at the NT. A cross between Enron and one of those verbatim plays like The Power of Yes in the same theatre, but nowhere near as effective as either.

Before it starts, there’s a man with a microphone at a round table in the foyer trying very hard to generate a debate amongst a crowd who look as if they regret that the rather good Colombian band have stopped playing. As you leave he’s still there, now getting even less interest form an audience badly in need of a pee and a glass of house red; embarrassing.

There are four playwrights and a dramaturg credited. There are four narrative threads woven together (one from each writer?). Only one really comes to life. There’s the rather patronising one about the ambitions of a black London youth who goes on Deal or No Deal, another about a young girl’s journey as an eco activist, a third about a Cambridge geography student who becomes an ornathologist, and the one that works about the UN Climate Conference in Copenhagen. There are other seeming pointless bits about disagreements between some neighbours and a completely unnecessary love affair. It’s 120 uninterrupted minutes (I think they might have dropped the interval during previews for obvious reasons!).

Director Bijan Sheibani and designer Bunny Christie have thrown the kitchen sink at it (in an attempt to bring it to life?). There’s an airline staff dance routine and numerical back projections which owe a lot to Enron (in which the dramaturg was involved!), and an ending straight out of Slava’s Snowshow (though they’re probably all too young to remember this). There’s a curtain of rain at the front of the stage, girls flying in supermarket trolleys and descending on ropes, a very realistic polar bear, flashing lights, loud music and crash bang wallops. Even if they do recycle the vast quantities of paper used, there’s something distasteful about its use…….and they have class acts like Amanda Lawrence and Lyndsey Marshall in the cast.

I didn’t learn much; I would have got more googling ‘climate change’ and ‘global warming’ for a couple of hours. As it’s at the NT, I suspect they are preaching to the converted like me. Any sceptics in the audience who stayed for the duration are unlikely to be turned and may well have been hardened by the relentless earnestness of it all. Despite the box of tricks, it was actually dull.

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