About Earthquakes in London

Saturday 7th August 2010

Earthquakes in London. Photo: Manuel Harlan
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Occasionally, just occasionally, a play comes along that reminds you why theatre is worth bothering about. It also challenges your ability to describe why it feels so exciting to watch, so interesting in its ideas, somehow so right. For me, the premiere of Mike Bartlett’s Earthquakes in London at the National last week had this effect, and I’m sure I’m unable to adequately describe the feelings of bliss — and heat — that it evoked, so I’ll stick to one of its ideas. Although the play is mainly about climate change, there is a pulse of generational conflict running through the piece. In one scene, it becomes explicit as youth challenges age to explain why nothing has been done about global warming even though the problem has been acknowledged for years. Good question. Earlier this year, James Graham’s The Whisky Taster articulated a similar dismay: the babyboomer generation has grabbed all the good things in life, leaving young people with student debt, badly paid jobs and nothing to do except binge drink. It’s unjust. I suspect that this year these two examples will not be the only ones to articulate generational conflict, and the anger of youth. Oh, and Bartlett, along Rupert Goold (director of the show), will be In Conversation at the National on Tuesday 10 August. See you there!

© Aleks Sierz

1 Comment

  • Christina commented

    on Monday 6th April 2015 at 7:27 pm

    I actually found this more enitntainerg than James Joyce.

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