THIS CHANGES EVERYTHING
13TH JUNE 7:30pm
With the rise of environmentalist groups such as the Extinction Rebellion and the unease in our current governmental climate, along with groups of rich, white men making important decisions globally, This Changes Everything is a hugely current work that raises the question – what can we do to make a change? The concept is simple; a group of women create their own society in order to experiment different ways to have a more peaceful and fair existence. Akin to works such as Animal Farm and Lord Of The Flies, the idea of having to create a new society is strangely familiar; whether it be through choice or necessity, it is a piece that gives you a feeling of hopelessness. There is a stark reality that we cannot break away from the systems in place, however much we try due to the human condition. As you can see, this is a piece that holds a lot of weight; one which the performers had a little difficulty bearing, with pace and intensity lacking in parts. First and foremost, this work is about anger and although the all-female cast were strong, I wanted to see more bitterness and frustration at the world. A word I would most definitely use for This Changes Everything is inclusivity. I was greeted with a touch tour, and a series of voicemails (followed by a fully captioned performance) which made this work fully accessible. I was happy to see a large company of women taking us through this story – a sadly rare occurrence still. And with the plastic-less set, and QR Code programme, it is a strong attempt at being environmentally friendly. This production ticks a lot of hot topic boxes at the minute. A relevant and haunting look at the state our world is in, This Changes Everything packs a punch, but I would like the punch to be harder.
Set on an off-shore structure, This Changes Everything tells the story of a group of women who, having founded the remote and idealistic Community, welcome a trio of new arrivals who shake up the old structure. The play tackles wide themes and concepts, including the corruption of power, truth as weaponry, group-think and the malleability of ideology. A large cast and impressive stage-design boost this production, turning it from a simple retelling of Joel Horwood’s original script into a truly theatrical event, leaving the audience to feel just as adrift as the characters, isolated from the world in their bizarre circumstances.
Whilst the cast is large and therefore risks leaving events feeling too sprawled, the production manages to avoid this by keeping every character distinctive and fully-rounded. A triumph of the storytelling is that none of them are wholly good or bad; there are those that take drastic action but are given the chance to justify themselves, whilst others constantly talk about doing what’s right without ever risking to engage themselves. Scenes featuring the whole cast on stage are where this most apparent, with debates, meetings and fights orchestrated clearly enough that we are never left wondering what is going on or who is involved in an incident; we have all the information right in front of us and can follow what’s happening with ease. The sociological aspects of the play feel natural and interesting rather than being a personal philosophy lecture, and it’s a great triumph of this production therefore, that they have been able to balance the immediate character-dynamics and growth with the intelligent dissection of society alongside it.