It’s funny how themes and styles become de rigueur in the art scene, this is the third time in as many weeks that I’ve seen a lead character (or MC) in royal blue sequins, from Matthew Raven (Fucking Men) to Helen Thomson (Top Girls) and now Rebecca Massey (though Massey dons the sparkly stuff quite late in the show). Recycling themes is common, pole dancing was another feature that has entered the zeitgeist, seen last month at Metamorphoses, the Griffin featured a pole front and centre though it wasn’t incorporated into the action until almost the end, in a final, acrobatic showdown.
Sequins and poles aside, the development of Kill Climate Deniers wasn’t without its own drama even before it hit the stage. The play was shut down when it first appeared four years ago, plagued with controversy that has ultimately given it even more steam as the debate over Finnigan’s choice of title was incorporated into the final product. Conservative Canberra suits questioned the grant that Finnigan received and made a big stink over the play’s title, leaving them vulnerable to a counter-attack in the final work.
Headlines ripped straight from real life make for good theatre – not that the story in Kill Climate Deniers needs help, it is a fast and funny look at climate change, politics and revolution and is a very successful mash-up of the good, the bad and the ugly in Australia’s fight to save our planet, or at least our part of it. Thumping good music, plus digs at artists who declined the rights to music (turns out Canadians aren’t as friendly as all that, thanks Shania Twain) and a hostage situation all conspired to provide a great night of theatre.
Director Lee Lewis must have had a ball with this one, with Eden Falk as the ‘playwright’, directing the action onstage and Rebecca Massey as the Minister For Environment Gwen Malkin. Hilarious performances keep audiences rapt, with the message of potential extinction loud and clear. Sheridan Harbridge as Malkin’s assistant Georgina Bekken gives a scene-stealing performance with an impressive commitment to capturing every camera worthy moment, including getting Malkin and her bosoms ready for each shot. Lucia Mastrantone and Emily Havea are scarily good as the eco-terrorists whose demands set the whole thing in motion.
If Kill Climate Deniers doesn’t wake you up to the dangers of ignoring climate change, then nothing will. Go for a laugh and some excellent comic performances, then stay for some sobering potential outcomes of a world in which climate change is ignored.
Kill Climate Deniers is on until 7 April, for more information see: http://griffintheatre.com.au/whats-on/kill-climate-deniers/
Featuring: Eden Falk, Sheridan Harbridge, Emily Havea, Rebecca Massey and Lucia Mastrantone.
Creative/Tech Team: David Finnigan (writer), Lee Lewis (director), Jonathan Hindmarsh (designer), Trent Suidgeest (lighting design), Steve Toulmin (sound design), Toby Knyvett (audiovisual design) and Khym Scott (stage manager).
above image by Brett Boardman