Review: Kill Climate Deniers

4*
The Pleasance Theatre
Directed by Nic Connaughton

3-D printed guns, eco-terrorists and the Australian Environment Minister on a killing spree, you’re in for a memorable evening. Kill Climate Deniers is as bonkers as the title suggests but in and amongst the brilliantly choreographed fight-dance scenes there’s a poignant message about why so many people don’t believe (or don’t want to believe) in climate change.

First shout out goes to the cast who are all hilarious. Felicity Ward as Gwen Malkin, Environment Minister, becomes the surprising heart of this show as she puts down her awful geo-engineering policies and picks up a machine gun instead, when eco-terrorists invade a Fleetwood Mac concert at Parliament House. Meanwhile, Kelly Paterniti plays Georgina Bekken, Malkin’s social media and 90s music savvy assistant, and the two have wonderful onstage chemistry and get some of the best laughs. Bec Hill and Hannah Ellis Ryan are fab in a number of rules including terrorists and a media correspondent, and Nathan Coenen plays Finig, the playwright himself. It’s when the writer starts telling us about his own play (via a character he’s written) that the drama steps away from farce and closer to its core interest in climate change denial. The fourth wall is broken and the devices of the play are humorously analysed as well as its history when it played, to much furore, in Australia. This often worked but a few times the didacticism became too much and I wanted to see the characters convey the central points rather than just be told by the writer. Also, for someone who hates bloggers so much (and really loves 90s music) Finnigan sure knows how to rant and in his intro to the script he does write: “[the play] is everything I wanted to say but bit my tongue about, year after year, until I sat down and blurted it all out in one hit.” He also calls it “panic euphoria” and I certainly panicked when a gun was turned on the audience and when grim visions of a future with climate catastrophe were prophesied.

Nic Connaughton does a great job directing, making the most of the small space, aided by Prinx Lydia’s impressive design, including a number of old TVs onstage, which were simultaneously comic and menacing. One of the funniest physical moments was when Malkin goes head to head with Catch (Bec Hill), the chief terrorist, in a fight to the death with guns, knives, dance moves, all to the tune of (you guessed it) some great 90s music. It was at moments like this that Rubyyy Jones’ movement direction really brought the world and comedy of the script to life in ways beyond the words.

All in all, it was a very fun evening. I’m still not convinced this whole climate change malarkey is an actual thing so I’ll just get back to eating loads of meat and flying short distances.

© R. Holtom

This show runs at The Pleasance Theatre, London until the 28th June 2019.  Book now.

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Photo © Ali Wright

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