By Terry Boyle
A cataclysm of inspiring personal hope in a world headed towards disaster, Mike Barlett’s play provides this very talented acting ensemble with an array of actors, dexterous scene changes, and musical interludes to stretch the rich gifts of any theatre company. If Steep wants to showcase their talent, as well as their anglophile leanings, this is the perfect show to do it with. Over the course of three hours, the actors shift in time and space from the late 1960s to the present day, as the lives of one family become interwoven into the fabric of the central theme of ‘interconnectedness’. The realities of the effects of climate change are harrowingly mirrored through Freya’s fragile mental state, Sarah’s crumbling marriage, and Jasmine’s teenage angst. We are on the edge of a precipice of our own making, where we can hang on and wait for the inevitable end or jump.
Director, Jonathan Berry, does an incredible job of demonstrating Barlett’s love of absurdity, and chaos. The surreal aspects of the play lighten the dark cloud cast by the sense of impending doom, but it also shows the human capacity to refuse to acquiesce to despair. We create; form relationships, play political games, and still nothing can change the doomsday we have prepared for ourselves. When the world has exhausted itself, or we have exhausted it of its natural resources and polluted our atmosphere, life surprises us. The nightmare scenario can also give way to a prophetic voice.
Barlett’s play is funny, discomforting, yet strangely hopeful. The answer, however, may be more of a personal hope or desire, but it does echo in the hearts of those of us who care about the fate of our world.