How To Save A Rock @ Pleasance Dynamic Earth
This charming but flawed show from Pigfoot Theatre is full of potential
If 11.30 on a Sunday morning seems unrealistically early for Fringe audiences, perhaps a wake-up call to save the planet is enough to shake us from our slumber. This carbon-neutral musical comedy powered by bike and solar power is uplifting and fun, but doesn’t quite provide the jolt needed in our current predicament.
Hurtling through a history of the planet delivered at a breakneck pace which is maintained throughout the show, the cast detail how humans have continued to willfully ignore all warning signs and the titular rock is headed for ecological disaster as we find ourselves in the year 2026. We meet Alfie, relatably despondent in the face of the impending crisis, who enlists the help of his two friends in a madman’s task of saving the last wild polar bear, and learns something about the tenacity of humankind along the way.
The performances from the three actors are charming and energetic, and the pianist is the unsung hero of the production – when she isn’t bashing out another tune on the keys, she’s conjuring up a train journey with only a snare drum. The production is slick, save for a couple of awkward moments with audience interaction.
The 12+ age label seems appropriate given the significant amount of material that would be too dense for younger audiences, although most viewers would be left with spinning heads after the scenes where climate change experts whizz through songs bombarding us with science in a comical manner that somewhat rids them of their potency. A few of the show's musical numbers are wasted on this (think Tom Lehrer’s The Elements, where the periodic table is reduced to nonsense lyrics).
This is weight the show could afford to shed, as it overran its advertised 70 minutes by quite a bit. The immersive setup and audience participation provide a framework for a genuinely politicised theatre which could implore the viewers to take action, and although it emphasises the urgency of the climate crisis, the show falls short when it comes to empowering its audience. Its exuberance and hopeful message has far more energising potential.
How to Save A Rock, Pleasance Pop-Up: Dynamic Earth (Biosphere), until 23 Aug, 11.30am, £8-10