by Simon Wu.
The Jellyfish Theatre Marlborough Playground 11-25 Union Street SE1 1LB To 18 September 2010.
Mon-Sat 8pm Mat 11,15,18 Sept 3pm.
Runs: 1hr 15min No interval.
Review: Carole Woddis 31 August.
Theatre beats drama by a mile.
Climate change is becoming the new number one theatrical issue. Last year Steve Waters wrote one of the most beautifully crafted duo of plays with The Contingency Plan. By all laws of justice it should have transferred.
Last year too, London saw Katrina, a site specific piece in the old Bargehouse, by London’s South Bank Oxo Tower, that blended text, physical movement and atmospherics into a moving testament of the New Orleans hurricane disaster. Mike Bartlett’s Earthquakes in London has also recently taken audiences on an explosive environmental journey at the Cottesloe Theatre.
Now we have The Oikos Project creating a first theatre built entirely from recycled and reclaimed material, with two new plays running in it to 9 October.
That’s the most exciting element about it – the design and realisation of The Jellyfish Theatre, half Noah’s Ark, half, with its jumble of wooden pallets jutting out at all angles, like a Guy Fawkes pile waiting for ignition.
Sited in a playground in Southwark, it’s scheduled for a short life which should give its creation – by two world class German architects, hours of work by an army of volunteers and a collaboration between new writing company, The Red Room, The Architecture Foundation and the Cambridge-based Junction – all the tingle it needs.
Unfortunately, the drama within the The Jellyfish Theatre fails to live up to the thrill of its visionary exterior. Simon Wu’s Oikos, the first play – Kay Adhead’s Protozoa follows from 23 September – set in present day London, posits the futuristic idea of a flooded London. Within this apocalyptic idea is set an everyday story of ambition, marital collapse and – potentially, far more interestingly – a connection with Indian mythologies. Our `hero’ is Salil, a City high flyer and his increasingly turbulent relationship with his wife and daughter as the waters rise inside and outside his dream riverside Chiswick home.
Sadly, neither writing nor production – apart from the last five minutes charting Salil’s escape from his childhood Indian flood – are able to rise above the mundane despite Neil d’Souza’s charismatic performance.
Lily: Amy Dawson.
Assana: Dido Miles.
Salil: Neil d’Souza.
Pramath: Kulvinder Ghir.
Asshiyana: Sakuntala Ramanee.
David: Kyla Turlunch.
Director: Topher Campbell.
Designer:: Bernadette Roberts.
Lighting: Tim Delling.
Sound: Adi Billinge.
Movement: Jean Abreu.
Film editor: Peter Williams/Simon Deeley.
Assistant director: Zoë Lafferty.
Design assistants: Alex Christie, Becky Johnston.