F*** the Polar Bears, Bush Theatre, review: Fritters away its energy on stubbornly uninteresting subplots

Tanya Ronder's instinct seems to have deserted her in her first stand-alone play

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The Independent Culture

Tanya Ronder is the author of some very good theatrical adaptations which have appeared at some very distinguished addresses. But her instinct seems to have deserted her in this, her first stand-alone play.

As the title suggests, it's a piece nominally powered by principled climate-change-anxiety. But she doesn't run with it. The play kicks off from a very fertile idea. Very affluent couple are about to move to house after his elevation to CEO and riches beyond the dreams of avarice.

Then, as the result of – what? Psychic disturbance? The planet fighting back? – weird disruptive electric breakdowns occur. The white frame of Chiara Stephenson's  excellent start starts to frazzle with static; mobiles fail to charge; their little daughter's stuffed polar bear goes AWOL.

I thought that the couple were going to be pushed into a situation where they had to show their home to a pair of prospective purchasers – the whole procedure sabotaged by the surreal insurrection from Mother Nature.

But no, the play – and Caroline Byrne's well-acted production – pussyfoot and fritter away their energies on stubbornly uninteresting subplots involving a recovering-addict brother (adorably played by Jon Foster) and a Nordic au pair with hamster-minding problems. Ronder will write a better second play.

To October 24; 8743 5050

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