by Amy Toledano
While the UK is dealing with political transitions and scrutiny, so too is Australia. With the large size of the country and massive environmental threats (a hole in the ozone layer and the destruction of the Great Barrier Reef to name a couple), there are plenty of people trying to make change. However, there is also a group of people who truly believe climate change is a thing of fiction – the climate change deniers.
Writer David Finnigan’s piece spans 2013 to present day. And while his play is often satirical and comedic, it follows an extreme through-line that highlights not only the government’s issues with change, but also the nature of those who believe it isn’t enough.
This is a show that is meta in the truest sense of the word. The innovative piece follows the story of the Environment Minister, Gwen Malkin, as she endeavours to make real environmental change. Shock-jock radio presenters and bloggers pressure the Minister into giving statements that are clear and proactive, which unfortunately ends up blowing her passionate cover – she states the government is funding research for scientists to block out the sun.
Cut to that evening at Parliament House in Australia’s Capital Territory, where a Fleetwood Mac concert is due to take place. Malkin is there with her PR Manager, Georgina Bekken. Malkin is “hanging by a fuckin’ thread” as Bekken attempts to clear up the mess made by the day’s media circus. But the concert takes a dark turn when terrorists storm the stage, taking the audience hostage and threatening to kill anyone or everyone unless the government, in particular the Environment Minister, stops climate change that same evening.
Clever interjections throughout the piece by an author called Finnig (played by Nathan Coenen) provides the show with the frank and terrifying nature it needs to get its message across. As the drama comes to a head, so too does the realisation that climate deniers are real, living, breathing people with a lot to lose.
Brilliant performances by the entire cast bring the excitement and energy of this piece to where it needs to be. Felicity Ward is especially excellent as the Environment Minister (she is also pregnant and with energy through the roof!) along with her right hand woman Bekken (Kelly Paterniti). The pair are comedy dynamite, and create a relationship that is sincere and earnest.
While the name of the show invokes images of violence and negativity – a fact not unnoticed by the playwright – the show is poignant, entertaining and a clever way to stand its ground on an issue that we continue to fight.
Kill Climate Deniers runs through 28 June.
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