EDINBURGH 2018 - BWW Review: LET'S INHERIT THE EARTH, Pleasance Courtyard
When wildfires are breaking out in the Arctic Circle, it's certainly past time to start considering the very real threat of global warming. Unfortunately, many are still in outright denial, while even more of us do nothing more than pay lip service when it comes to saving the planet.
These are the attitudes confronted in Let's Inherit The Earth, a co-production between Scotland's Dogstar Theatre and Sweden's Profilteatern.
A rowdy piece of popular theatre written by Morna Pearson and accompanied by an exceptionally catchy original pop-punk score by Jonny Hardie, the show flits between scenes on the theme of climate change, how it's driven by capitalism, and how it's further exploited by that very same capitalism.
In recurring snippets, upper-class Swedish and Scottish couples are contrasted with their working-class equivalents and we see how both sets fare in the face of floods, fires and sea encroachment. There is plenty of broad comedy at the expense of the clueless characters, with Matthew Zajac's hideously self-absorbed laird Michael Mucklefanny drawing particularly appreciative laughter, and Jan Karlsson's adorable child Lukas neatly disarming the adults around him with pertinent questions, even as he plays with his vegetarian dinosaurs.
Nevertheless, the show successfully makes its point that, while we may laugh, we are heading for the same troubles as the show's characters and will likely not be much better equipped to deal with inevitable global catastrophe. Good use is made of a series of adorably expressive turtle costumes, pointing out the sheer arrogance of thinking humanity is any different to those species climate change is making extinct.
The rest of Ulla Karlsson's design is versatile in suggesting the varied locations, though the level of detail may contribute to the overly long transitions. Likewise, the show itself could do with a bit of shaving towards the end, as the audience started to fidget in a cramped Fringe venue, while several of the final scenes added little.
In the end, for a piece that offers a strong critique of attitudes towards climate change, it was somewhat lacking in a message or call to action, even to the point of having some of the Swedish characters regret their previous attempts to be environmentally friendly. It's unclear what audiences are supposed to take away from the show beyond greater awareness of a problem and its relation to economics.
Overall, this is an enjoyable, vibrant production, but one that needs a little more clarity of message in order to live up to its early promise.