Monday 7 February 2011

views of greenland: "like frazer in dad's army"

This is only the second time that the National Theatre has staged a play that addresses climate change. (The first time is here.)

The issue of climate change seems, almost invariably, to present theatre critics with an irreconcilable tension between the material and the form in which it is presented. Here's a selection from half-a-dozen first night reviews of Greenland.

"Like Frazer in Dad’s Army, Greenland repeatedly warns that we are doomed, and that unless we mend our ways, sharpish, it will serve us jolly well right."

"I care about the issues. But I couldn't give a damn about any of the multiply-authored characters."

"Greenland is not so much a play as a statement put out by a committee."

"The show starts with a big issue and then seeks ways to illustrate it. I suspect it would be more fruitful to take the more traditional route of beginning with characters and a situation and working outwards."

"The trouble with this sort of fact-into-fiction project is that the wholly commendable statements of the green movement wind up sounding gauche and laughable when transposed into drama."

"Thought-provoking debates will surely arise in the accompanying series of NT platform talks"

From Daily Telegraph, Independent, Observer, Guardian, London Evening Standard and Independent on Sunday

pic: John Laurie as Private James Frazer, the Scottish coffin maker, in "Dad's Army"

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