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JOSH’S REVIEW: Emissions: A Climate Change Comedy @ Ottawa Fringe 2013

Loud, blunt, and completely unappealing, Emissions takes a largely immature and shallow look at a serious issue facing the world today. I’m all for stories having deeper meanings, but I don’t appreciate my senses being assaulted in the process.

Should you see it?

OneWell, I’ll say this for Emissions: A Climate Change Comedy: it does try to show that climate change is not a one-sided issue. In one scene, it depicts the debate between a developed green-house gas spewing country and a developing country that wants to build power plants to provide electricity to its people. The Minister of the developed country tells them they can’t build power plants as that will hurt the planet, but then the developed country already has said plants, and so on. It’s a nice touch to what easily could have been a piece bashing companies and developed countries or killing the planet. However, that’s where the positives end as the rest of the show is down-right painful to watch.

Presented as a series of loosely connecting vignettes about the planet’s changing climate, Emissions simply has no charm, subtlety, or real substance to it. It’s loud, and the characters may as well be card-board cut-outs for all the actual depth they have. It’s a show where character kicks it up to 11 on the zaniness-scale, and stays there the entire show. It’s one thing for a show to have a message, I like that, but when it just assaults and offends your senses, the message it’s trying to convey fails. Playing most of it as the environmentally unfriendly men versus the collective-oriented women also comes up short. Maybe if any of the characters were likable, I could have enjoyed the stereotypical battle of the sexes a little bit. Spoiler: this was not the case.

I can’t fault the actors’ performances here. Instead, the blame lies with the script and direction. It’s ham-fisted, having about as much tact as a sledge-hammer to the face, and no amount of good staging and musical score can save it from that. I was simply wishing for it to be over by about the half-way point. However, I may be the only madman in the room as the audience gave it a standing ovation. Goes to show you how radically different people’s opinions can be. What appeals to a each individual is complicated, which, in my opinion, Emissions just is not.

But these are just my thoughts. Am I way off? Let me know what you think in the comments below.

Emissions: A Climate Change Comedy is running on June 26th, 27th, and 29th in Arts Court Theatre (venue 1). For more information, please visit our preview page.



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