Solarplexus: An Alternative Energy Play @ Zoo Charteris
Ambitious, but unclear sci-fi comedy
Solarplexus: An Alternative Energy Play is an ambitious attempt at sci-fi comedy. Set in the present, it makes constant references to our impending environmental doom and asks questions about the role that activists have to play in the creation of our new world.
The play centres around one family. Frank Senior is a crazy conspiracy theorist living in the woods, his daughter Ellen is an environmental internet activist, and his son Frank has sold out and gone to work for the evil corporation Syzygy. With the end of the world impending, they are forced together to figure out the best way to save the planet.
While the premise of the play is strong, sometimes the exact plot becomes confusing. There are a couple of moments when the audience is left guessing and it feels as though a vital piece of information is missing. In typical sci-fi fashion, there are aliens and Gods on the scene, but their introduction sometimes feels a bit clunky. Created in New York City, the play has been cut down from its original length, perhaps leaving out some key moments.
However, the individual performances are all strong. The five-person cast perform their parts with skill, and Melissa Mahoney’s performance as Ellen is convincing and holds the play together. Musician Robert Fernandez supplies the onstage sci-fi soundtrack to great effect, even interacting with the cast in more comedic moments. The play’s message holds true despite some teething difficulties, and is an interesting glimpse into the very real apocalypse we might soon be facing.
Solarplexus: An Alternative Energy Play, Zoo Chateris - Sanctuary, 15-19 Aug and 21-27 Aug, £10 (£8)
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