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Review | A Play For The Living In A Time of Extinction | Shakespeare North Playhouse | 20/05/2023

‘A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction’ attempts to tackle the sensitive and timely issue around climate crisis. It addresses more closely the challenging theme of death vs extinction.

The title of the piece is slightly misleading, as this does not feel like a play. In reality, it felt closer to a TedTalk on the subject, giving countless facts throughout with very little accompanying story. It felt difficult to connect with due to lacking narrative, with mentions of a woman in hospital in a failed attempt to give somewhat of a story. Whilst the subject matter is one that would be interesting to explore, the execution of it fell flat for this avid theatregoer.

Although the production tours, those on stage are always local to the area. This is obviously in keeping with being more mindful about the environment. Whilst the electricity is provided by four cyclists generating energy, the show itself is effectively a one-person monologue for the majority of the one hour performance. At the close of the show a choir appeared to perform a song. They sounded fantastic and hearing their harmonies was the highlight of the show. The lyrics, however, like much of the show, felt almost preachy which hampered my enjoyment of what was a talented collection of local singers.

Unfortunately, ‘A Play for the Living in a Time of Extinction’ verges too much on the side of novelty and lacks an engaging narrative. Addressing the urgency of environmental crisis is relevant and necessary. However, this production let itself down, feeling more like campaigning with novelty elements thrown in, than true theatre.

Photo Credit: Helen Murray

Note: My ticket was gifted. Irrespective of whether a show is gifted or bought, I always ensure that my reviews are fair and based on my honest opinion alone.


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