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Wednesday 30 August 2017

Review: Earthquakes In London @ Brighton Little Theatre

A hectic play (in a good way), with multiple stories unfolding at once, and a timescale ranging from 1968 to the far future, Earthquakes In London concerns three sisters and their scientist father, their relationships, and the potential end of our world. 
Photo by Miles Davies

Author Mike Bartlett uses a scattergun approach, including sung interludes, dance and comedy - the 15-strong cast playing multiple roles in what could easily devolve into chaos.

Director Steven Adams masterfully condenses this sprawling great circus into the bijou space of Brighton Little Theatre with the help of clever back projections and lighting. 

The cast are spot-on in keeping the plot clear, and kudos should go to one and all, not just those I'm picking out! 

Mandy-Jane Jackson as the heavily pregnant middle daughter Freya is great, scared and uncertain of the futures she is being presented. 

Also stand-out is Keziah Israel as Jasmine, the rebellious nuisance of a younger sister, and Mike Skinner, brilliant as the older version of their irascible climate scientist father. 

Tess Gill plays Sarah, the eldest sister and a coalition cabinet minister and is chillingly brisk and businesslike. 

It is this strand of the story that resonates, as commercial pressures conflict with moral and environmental concerns.

Juggling sometimes three scenes on the same stage is an art, perfectly pulled off - the"out-of-focus" moments were often as engaging as the "in focus" ones - one beautifully mimed sequence with a drunk Jasmine and Colin (played by Paul Morley) playing with a pair of spectacles was superb and touching.

The time-skipping and sense of "everything happening at once" really works, and as the second half draws to a close the threads weave together toward a moving and satisfying resolution. 

The human stories are subsumed into the sense of impending environmental apocalypse - the central strand of the play - and humanity's ability to ignore it. 

Never more relevant than now, when we hear almost daily of ice caps melting and climate change while blithely getting on with our lives.

In short, a very entertaining, funny, sometimes breathtaking jamboree bag of a show, with a sound message and fabulous performances, totally recommended - catch it at theBOAT while Summer is still here!

Earthquakes in London at Brighton Open Air Theatre from 30th August to 2nd September 2017. CLICK HERE for more info.

by: Gary Cook


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