Greenland – National Theatre

How many playwrights does it take to draft a piece on global warming? According to the National Theatre it takes four but sadly Greenland, the end result, is not something any of the quartet will be listing on their greatest achievement lists.

There is so much potential here, an emotive topic, first class writers, the technical facilities of the National Theatre all offer great potential for a piece of contemporary drama. Sadly it fails on nearly every level, instead of a piece of thought provoking drama it turns into a 2hour deathly dull lecture that doesn’t drive any view, pro or anti climate change, forward.

Moira Buffini, Matt Charman, Penelope Skinner and Jack Thorne have created multiple and occasional interwoven story arcs that ultimately don’t go anywhere. A raft of characters debate the effects of climate change but we don’t really ever get to see more that a faint outline of character and never a resolution to the various arguments surrounding the subject.

It does look incredibly stylish – with a full raft of theatrical effects thrown at it. Stylistically it resembles Enron but while that show was inventive and actually used effect to drive narrative forward, Greenland seems to use the spectacle as just a desperate attempt to stop the audience from walking out.

Instead of stirring any debate on the vitally important subject of climate change the only thing that stirs at the end of this show is sympathy for the cast and anger that this dire, ill conceived mess could ever reach the stage. Truly awful.

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