I suppose it’s something we all wonder about, what our future will look like. A future which is set to include turbulent politics, declining environmental conditions and the threat of nuclear weapons. Nuclear Future explores the latter of these concerns with an imaginative production, but not enough punch in the performance to carry home the severity of the script.
Nuclear Future does what it says on the tin; it illustrates a version of the world we may end up with if the worst were to happen. I like the blend of scenes which outline the scientific facts of nuclear weaponry, juxtaposed by the personal perspective of an everyday family. It creates a really nice balance between fact and fiction, with each complementing the other really well. A script which could feel overwhelmingly doom and gloom retains a sense of humanity, allowing the layers within the script to more efficiently tackle such a monumental topic.
With the scale of the subject matter in mind, the acting needs to make a significant impact, especially with this being a one-woman show. Leda Douglas keeps the energy up, but doesn’t necessarily hit the right levels. In the lighter scenes Douglas performs confidently, it’s in the darker scenes which require a sudden gear change, that the punches aren’t landed. In a straight through hour show, such highs and lows can be hard to navigate, especially when the transitions are not gradual, but the ability to do so with complete conviction is what this show needs to be truly effective.
I’d be interested to see a longer version of this play. I wonder if more time would allow some breathing space for Douglas to really tackle this topic. I’m not talking a three hour epic, just a slight elongation so both the script and the performer could add a little more detail to the performance.
The production value is this show’s secret weapon. A joyous combination of Joshua Pharo and Ellie Thompson’s video design, alongside Dominic Kennedy’s sound design. The two elements keep the pace of the play up and make it ten times more engaging. What I think the designers deserve particular credit for is their imagination – the design isn’t obvious and such novelty fuels the show.
Gameshow have created a show full of potential – the tech is on point and I think the rest of the show could develop and increase in strength. Although I don’t believe this production is currently reaching its full potential, I am excited to see what this company create in the future.
Nuclear Future played the Camden People’s Theatre until 19 October. For more information and tickets, visit the Camden People’s Theatre website.