“A family drama in the mix of the issues”
The title itself brings a certain reaction from its audience. A play exploring the environmental crisis and the impending doom coming to the Earth is all included the small question – do you love this planet? This play explores the tautology of that statement instantly and shows that it’s not actually the environmentally-lead play it is perceived to be on the poster but rather a family drama in the mix of the issues.
Rachel (Lucy Lowe) brings the titled question to her family and to her peers when she’s adamant she can do something about it. Others find her approach off-putting and it soon leads to Rachel being let go from her newly appointed position of Public Relations Officer at the FFF. She then decides to become a pioneer for the cause and with that, issues amongst her family grow. Her partner, Schumann (Chris Porter) find himself struggling to converse with Rachel on the issue whilst Rachel’s son, Alan (Christian James) finds it all too enjoyable to watch.
Lowe gives a confident performance as Rachel but like the other three characters, we never really get a chance to warm to her. James’ Alan is an intriguing watch as the son with a self-proclaimed Oedipus complex and Porter’s Schumann gets his share of the more profound dialogue that makes it all that little bit clearer as to what this play is actually about.
This is short, one-act play of under an hour and it seems like too many plot points have been stuffed into it (The big environmental questions, the philosophical arguments between Rachel & Schumann, Alan’s relationship with his mother, the need to be an environmental advocate, etc) and the audience is unable to be fully invested in any of them. Many of the scene’s dialogue is more of an intellectual debate where there are no winners rather than characters trying to talk to each other – nothing wrong with that, but quite quickly monotonous. Though the shows abrupt ending brings the audience’s focus back and you’re wishing the show was just ten or so minutes longer for a more concise wrap-up.
Besides Adrian Gee’s effective set combine with the opening sequence composed by Eamonn O’Dwyer & Simeon Miller, the production still needs work. Attempting a topic such as ‘Do You Love This Planet?’, the writing needs to be more concise and the characters should be doing more than just debating.
‘Do You Love This Planet?’ is playing at the Tristan Bates Theatre until March 23.
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A festival of theatre is coming to the Tristan Bates in Seven Dials! And it looks fantastic! 🎭