1. The subject of Global warming.
Planet earth is heating up. We are witness to ever-weirder weather - heatwaves, earthquakes, tsunamis, hurricanes. Here in Britain, monsoon-like flash floods, colder winters and our summer being replaced by relentless rain. Are we entering a naturally occurring age of higher temperatures and rising sea levels, or have we brought this on ourselves with our post-industrial addiction to carbon fuels? The subject is not going away any time soon.
2. The writer.
Richard Bean. You must have heard of him by now. Author of the hugely successful comedy masterpiece One Man, Two Guvnors, the show that took the National Theatre by storm in 2011 and has had them rolling in the aisles in London, on tour, and in New York ever since. In The Heretic, he turns his comic eye on the climate change debate with hilarious results.
3. The characters.
Richard Bean was at one point a stand-up comedian and he’s populated his play with some very funny characters. Meet Dr Diane Cassell, climate change sceptic, precision practitioner of the acerbic put-down, and desperately worried about her daughter Phoebe, combative, anorexic, and falling in love with her mum’s brightest student, eco-confused Ben, a self-harming charmer trying to live a carbon-neutral existence and a prime suspect of a death threat being investigated by Geoff, head of security at the Faculty of Earth Sciences headed up by Diane’s ex-lover and boss, under pressure from just about everybody including Miss Tickell of Human Resources who looms large in leather whenever university procedures are not being followed to the letter.
4. The Music.
Listen to a live rendition of a beautiful love lament performed by a love-struck Ben to his embarrassed but secretly pleased heart-throb Phoebe. Listen also to me playing at least two-and-a-half chords of a rock classic.
As will all things, and heightened in this age of austerity, theatre is subject to market forces. If we don’t use it we lose it.
The Heretic runs at The Lowry in Salford from 27 September - 13 October.