Review: Evaluation (The Greenhouse)

August 20, 2019

 

Understandably, the environmental crisis is a focal point of more Fringe shows than ever. But, as with previous years, a lot of companies are more focused on “spreading awareness” than being conscious of their own carbon footprint and environmental impact. That is not the case for The Greenhouse by BoxedIn Theatre; a zero-waste venue built on the grounds of Dynamic Earth. 
 
Each show has an environmental focus, and between 12:15 and 12:45 that show is Evaluation; a solo performance written and directed by Caelan Mitchell-Bennette and staring Georgia Turner as “Human”. Tied to a chair and alone, she is interrogated by a voice-over that demands she justify her species’ actions and explain their mass “conscious suicide”.
 
Given that Turner was performing with a chair that was obviously quite easy to escape from, to an almost distracting degree, she did a great job at portraying a sense of panic, anger, guilt, and, crucially, individuality. Rather than being an embodiment of all human traits, she is a character in her own right. She highlights our paradoxical feelings of detachment and responsibility for the state of our planet.
 
As a premise, it offers Mitchell-Bennette the opportunity to explore so many different aspects of modern life. Sadly though, the script lacked nuance and ultimately sounded like an echo chamber of our ever-present sense of guilt. The writing style is engaging, mixing the poetic with the robotic through the characterisation of the interrogating voice-over, but the thematic content leaves a lot to be desired. Three stars.

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