In a mood that seems more exasperated than homicidally angry, writer David Finnigan mashes up elements of verbatim theatre and late-80s action flicks (Die Hard, mostly) into a combustible 90 minutes of agit-satire.
Finnigan (played by Eden Falk) runs the show in movie director mode, addressing the audience and setting scenes, most of which take place in Parliament House, Canberra.
It’s going to be a special night on the Hill. Fleetwood Mac is playing a concert sponsored by a fictional Australian energy company, which, as one of the world’s leading carbon polluters, now stands to make a motza from a sunlight mitigation scheme involving sulphur-spraying helium balloons. The science behind this is well advanced, Finnigan/Falk assures us.
Among the hundreds of invited guests is embattled (and not very competent) Minister for the Environment Gwen Malkin (Rebecca Massey), shadowed as always by her social media handler Georgina (Sheridan Harbridge).
Also present is a group of homebrew Aussie terrorists led by Catch (Lucia Mastrantone), who have infiltrated the concert disguised as roadies.
After setting off a bomb and locking down the building (a moment chillingly released in sound and light), Catch threatens to start killing her captives on live TV unless immediate, decisive action is taken on climate change.
Can Malkin, who was in the toilet when the bomb went off, save the day? Yippee-ki-yay she can.
As all this unfolds, Finnigan weaves in the story of this play’s troubled birth (an earlier iteration of the play raised the ire of conservative columnist Andrew Bolt) and comment from climate change deniers and trolls, whose voices rise during the show’s later scenes.
Directed with gusto by Lee Lewis, Kill Climate Deniers has a fissile quality to it. This show spins hard and irregularly. You sometimes wonder if it might fall apart.
That it doesn’t is thanks to the anchoring provided by Finnigan, who makes piercing observations about the true nature of climate skepticism (it’s not really about the science, folks), and Lewis’ management of a skilful cast.
Massey (pole dancing – who knew?) and Harbridge are a violently funny comic team. Mastrantone is contrastingly real and fiery as Finnigan’s blue-collar terrorist, an extreme yet plausible example of what happens when pessimism and anger becomes nihilism.