WATER To 5 March.

London.

WATER
by Filter and David Farr.

Tricycle Theatre Kilburn High Road NW6 7JR To 5 March 2011.
Mon-Sat 8pm Mat Sat 4pm & 16 Feb, 2 March 2pm.
Runs 1hr 25min No interval.

TICKETS: 020 7328 1000.
www.tricycle.co.uk
Review Mark Courtice 25 January at Salisbury Playhouse.

Water’s still urgent.
Although it’s been around since 2007, Filter’s multi-layered piece still explores urgent issues. By dint of showing how the political and theoretical is also the personal it also refuses to reduce things to simplicities, making a satisfyingly engaging evening.

This is theatre of ideas, but improvisation has also created complex, interesting, parallel stories and appealingly complicated characters to go with them. The connection between the characters is our environment and the attempts to save it. The catalysts are the struggle to get agreement at the Helsinki environmental conference in the face of official foot-dragging, and a record-breaking attempt to cave-dive to 1000 metres.

There’s a neatly drawn contrast between the diver’s passionate defence of going further, deeper and the equally passionate belief of a climate change pioneer that we must slow down the pace of change to protect what we have. There’s crude politics as a disembodied ‘Mandarin’ voice from Whitehall chokes off a young negotiator’s progress to an agreement in the name of expediency. She herself faces a startling challenge deciding between different sorts of futures – will she choose motherhood or staying in the bear-pit of environmental politics?

Skilfully avoiding polemic (mostly) and with a sophisticated appreciation of narrative, this well-made piece is further enhanced by the confident theatricality of the telling. The capable cast inhabit the characters that matter with ease and neatly sketch the government types and other functionaries that surround them.

Jon Bausor’s shiny stage offers little in the way of comfort – this is the harsh 21st Century dystopia of airports, hotel rooms and snatched phone calls, a contemporary world created on stage, under pin-sharp lighting. The doomed record attempt is genuinely heart-stopping, using the simplest of resources.

This skill is matched by the technical presentation. Screens appear and slide away, their contents apt and effective as narrative devices. The composer, on stage, creates a dynamic sound-scape, and the voices of the actors are modulated by cunning kit.

Performers: Ollie Dimsdale, Victoria Moseley, Ferdy Roberts.

Director: David Farr.
Designer: Jon Bausor.
Lighting: Jon Clark.
Video: Andi Watson.
Music: Tim Phillips.

2011-02-03 01:37:23

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