THEATRE REVIEW: How a City Can Save the World at Sheffield Studio Theatre

THERE’S no “Planet B” in this shockingly brilliant take on all our futures if we fail to tackle the climate crisis.

But the powerful dystopian message comes through a riot of diversity and gallows humour.

It may not be what you want to hear, but great writing and a wonderful ensemble cast are so funny and engaging it will make even climate change deniers think.

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The time-travelling tale catapults us forward as five random people in a Meadow hall lift end up being transported to the year 2116.

But this place is called Sheffuld.

What follows is a heartwarming, yet chilling, vision, where everything we take for granted has failed to survive on a burned out planet where just 24 people, divided and desperate, cling on to life.

Written by the Stockroom writers’ room group and immaculately directed by Tess Seddon, the inclusive Sheffield People’s Theatres’ tenth anniversary production hits all the marks.

Poking fun at today’s obsessions with mobile phones, shallow alternative lifestyles and well-heeled greedy gas-gusslers, it also has a serious look at relationships and responsibilities.

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Central storylines are a developing gay love story and a grandmother desperate to get back to 2022 as full-time carer for her grand-daughter.

There’s tremendous acting on show from both the main characters and rest of the cast, who always look out for each other.

An inventive, eco-disaster set design by Kevin Jenkins makes great use of video and stagecraft techniques.

By the end a sense of change and unity of purpose wins out as the five return to 2022 in an uplifting finale warmly received by an appreciative audience.

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It would be unfair to pick out any of the cast for special mention.

All 28 on stage — just too many characters to name — plus the choral cast, video crew and all the creative, production and support teams should take an enormous bow for creating a marvellous piece of theatre.

With people like these around, there’s hope for us all yet.

How A City Can Save The World is at Sheffield Studio until Saturday, August 6.


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