Edinburgh 2022: Review: STOP THE WORLD, WE'RE GETTING OFF, theSpace

After the Edinburgh Fringe, the eco-focused play tours the UK

Shortlists for 2023 Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland Announced

Shortlists for 2023 Critics' Awards for Theatre in Scotland AnnouncedImagine a distant future where the climate crisis has fully taken hold in the UK and the last remaining humans can be found in a bunker below Clapham South tube station. Mirroring the refuge the location provided during the Second World War, Stop the World, We're Getting Off by Georgie Cunningham provides a glimpse of a potential future for humankind.

Five people won the so-called "golden ticket" for a spot in the bunker: we learn more about Roarke, a frustrated politician, played by Tom McGeough, and his daughter Ava (also performed by Cunningham), who has never known life outside of the bunker.

Kimmy, the mother figure of the clan, is endearingly played by Kate-Elizabeth Carey and Adam Gannon plays Cayden, a skilled handyman with hopes and dreams of a future beyond their current existence. He forms a sweet relationship with Ava.

Joseph Barber-Roberts plays the suitably burnt-out and ambivalent Alden, a former NASA scientist, although the likelihood of him wearing a white lab coat at this stage of the quarantine is highly unlikely. Other cast members who appear in pre-recorded footage documenting the collapse of society are also credited in the programme.

The rest of the cast are dressed in hues of green (costumes also by Carey), in line with the credentials of their piece. Some details such as the inclusion of other dystopian novels like Kazuo Ishiguro's "Never Let Me Go" piled up on the table are a nice touch, but it would have been nice to see the "scientist" of the group writing some actual words and equations on a whiteboard instead of just wiggly lines.

It wasn't entirely clear who this show was for; while there is a glimpse of hope of new life and ingenuity in times of crisis, the vast majority of the show dwells in pessimistic "climate doom", which will likely discourage many of those already involved in climate activism, and hardly win over those who are yet to join the cause.

Cunningham's script paints a picture of the tenderness and tensions of the group in such close proximity with each other, although more could have been made of the pre-recorded news clips or otherwise to minimise the amount of exposition in the early scenes, to get the audience up to speed.

The ending was a little predictable but Daniel Vernon's direction ensures a building of tension as the fate of the ensemble becomes unknown and certainly makes for a gripping final sequence - and, while the mirrored ending nicely bookended the show, it could have potentially been more impactful ending the piece one scene earlier.

Tenderfoot Theatre describe themselves as a young, queer, and female-led eco-theatre company and they share at the end of the show that their planet-conscious practices minimise the impact of the shows they produce, from second-hand costumes to upcycled set pieces made from Edinburgh Fringe flyers - an admirable manifesto.

Dystopian, and enthusiastically delivered, Stop the World, We're Getting Off may well be a sign of things to come, I certainly hope that won't be the case.

Stop the Word, We're Getting Off at Venue 45 @ theSpace during the Edinburgh Fringe and continues on tour




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From This Author - Fiona Scott

Fiona works towards her medicinal chemistry PhD by day but can usually be found in a theatre at night. She enjoys writing about science, musicals and more!... (read more about this author)

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