The melting, cracking and shattering of the Antarctic ice is the central character of two related but separate plays by Steve Waters. Meanwhile, far away in Great Britain, a dark, turbulent family of four drama unfolds. On the beachand in the political satire at Westminster an even more turbulent chaos breaks out Sustainability, which is both terrifying and hilarious. (Well, that’s politics!)

The first premiere of the plays took place in 2009. Since then, events related to climate change and politics have developed so quickly that the scripts have been carefully revised to set this latest version in a post-pandemic, post-Brexit Britain, with mentions from the likes of Dominic Cummings, Kwasi Kwarteng and the amazing the appeal of tousled hair is now included.

Although both plays focus on the characters’ personalities, problems, foibles, failures, ambitions and intense interactions, nature and the science of climate change play a central role, the playwright works closely with modern Antarctic scientists to ensure that his dramas consist of entertaining fiction and friction. based on sound information. To keep the science clear and bright and not dry and preachy, the focus is on a bright visual aid in the form of a glass table base that is essentially a tank. A simple shoreline model flows into this water, vividly demonstrating devastating sea-level rise, while technical glitches demonstrate that hoses are as unpredictable as climate phenomena – but even more amusing.

While the perfect integrity of characters, relationships, and events may fall short, both plays are lively, entertaining, engaging, and powerfully impactful. Humor is very welcome, especially in Sustainabilitykeeps things upbeat until the wet, thunderous ending and glimmers of hope really pierce the doom and mayhem – if you squint hard.


U On the beach, Robin Paxton is an angry, disillusioned, neurotic old lad, wracked with guilt after abandoning his career as a leading scientist in Antarctica in the 1970s to live an isolated family life in Norfolk. The fact that his early predictions of sea-level rise, based on careful findings, were silenced broke him, voices similar to those he had been drowned out for decades by misinformation spread by self-interested climate change deniers. Today, Robin obsessively tracks ominous weather phenomena that support his theories. Extreme storms are brewing outside and inside as son Will (Joe Bannister), also an Antarctic climate scientist, returns home shyly bringing news of a career change that will enrage his father as well as unexpected girlfriend Surika, a civil servant. who plays with the flamboyant aplomb of Kieran Land, who will do the same. In the gripping drama, an already strange and strained relationship takes a turn for the worse with the weather as long-suffering wife and loving mum Jenny struggles to escape the unstoppable waters.

If there’s little fun on the crisis front, it’s a good thing there’s plenty of humor on the road to destruction. The comedy is especially magnificent Sustainability from Paul Reddy as Chris Cassan, the ridiculous/realistic, ill-informed, incompetent climate change minister. Reminiscent of a fake political comedy W1Ahis whole personality, delivery and great comic timing bring joy to anyone who loves to laugh.

Climate advisor Colin Jenks’ folding bike and sweaty cycling gear fit in there, too. The lumpen, laid-back Colin is played by Peter Forbes, who also happens to be his alienated, ill-used former colleague Robin in On the beach. Geraldine Alexander, who portrays Will’s mother and Robin’s selfless, supportive wife On the beach becomes the impressively intelligent, vivacious, career politician Tessa Fortnum, Minister for Sustainability, in another play. In Westminster, even when a storm is brewing, pointless acronyms fly like nit-picking, arguments, crippling ineptitude, lack of understanding of reality and misaligned, selfish personal and political priorities leading to extreme incompetence and chaotic sleight of hand. Meanwhile, Will and Surika’s relationship completely crumbles when Will turns into a clone of his disillusioned, despairing, self-flagellating, broken father.

Georgia Lowe’s simple, versatile set is great for creating appropriately dark spaces. Gigantic grey-white platform slabs with occasional clumps of fog evoke both Antarctic ice and the flat underbelly of the glories that sustain life in the Norfolk Salt Flats, while also serving as cold, anonymous corridors of power. Giles Thomas’ careful soundscapes maintain this atmosphere of dark, vast spaces, isolation and the calm before the storm, using the calm of the distant sea, the wind and the cries of birds and the dramatic tension of flocks flapping, winging, long, long notes, cellos or voices singing melodic awfulness. A black lighting rig that descends also creates a jittery effect, not to mention lightning bolts and water pouring down.

As in D. Attenborough, the message in Emergency action plan (or lack thereof) firmly argues that the only sane option is to deal with everything that can be controlled now while there is still time: ignoring the alarm clock again and again to resume our standard snooze of complacency is a disastrous choice that only leads to panic , chaos and destruction – obviously. Yet how alluring and fascinating is the human slumber of complacency!

It’s just as well that there’s a laugh to be had on the way to Doomsday – at least on stage. Exciting, educational, funny and scary, this is exciting entertainment.

Eileen Keiger Gray

The exhibition will continue at the Crucible until November 5.