Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow at Chickenshed Theatre online
With theatres still being closed, watching recorded live performances from previous years is one of the few ways we can currently enjoy stage shows. It comes with its advantages, such as the liberty of being able to stream performances when one likes, the comfort of being able to do it from the safety of one’s home and, of course, the privilege of being able to access it at all. Among its drawbacks, however, is one simple truth: in order for the performance to carry weight, the recording equipment needs to be of sufficient quality.
Unfortunately, Chickenshed’s thematically urgent Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow suffers gravely from a bad recording in which the sound is sometimes drowned out, meaning that often one can’t hear what is being said, or in which the stage isn’t visible due to the lighting blurring the entire screen. This is a great pity, since what can be seen is evidently an ambitious play with important underlying themes – it’s just the YouTube transition that hasn’t made the cut.
Thankfully, the performance itself is strong enough to make it watchable, even if it’s only a shadow of the live show. The entire play is a warning about the dangers of climate change; fictional artist Oscar – acted competently by Ashley Driver – gives a series of monologues including anecdotes and scientific snippets about climate change to enlighten the audience, in between which we get a series of scenes which involve spoken word poetry, singing, dancing and short sketches.
These sequences portray – in a variety of fresh ways – various issues relating to climate change, such as melting ice caps, this rise of refugees as a result of natural catastrophes, the crises of plastic in the oceans and more. They are performed by Chickenshed’s huge and diverse cast – a cast which includes children, people from minority backgrounds and people with disabilities. They do everything from acting to dancing to singing, and the result is a spectacle in which everyone is so evidently passionate about the subject that the audience can’t help but be drawn in and made painfully aware of the severity of the subject matter.
As a result, one is left wishing one could still see this production performed on a live stage. Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow is an important show – it’s just unfortunate that the bad recording quality results in a marred experience when watching it online.
Don’t Stop Thinking About Tomorrow is available to view on Chickenshed Theatre’s YouTube Channel from 24th July until 24th September 2020. For further information or to book visit the theatre’s website here.