It’s certainly proving controversial, which in our view makes it a play worth seeing.
Here is a summary of what the critics said:
Michael Billington: Guardian
Some will argue this is not really theatre. But the idea that theatre should be exclusively reserved for fiction has been knocked on the head by a surge of documentary dramas and verbatim plays…Professor Rapley’s talk is compelling, forensic in its approach and based on scientific data rather than heated emotion…A lot of theatre provides optional pleasure. This talk, which deserves wide dissemination, is better than good: it is necessary.
Henry Hitchings: Evening Standard
It’s an unsettling companion to Stephen Emmott’s Ten Billion, staged at the Royal Court… Rapley and [Duncan] Macmillan have created something that holds out at least a crumb of hope. Rapley delivers what’s sometimes called a “performance lecture”, though in this case the word “performance” feels out of place…the approach feels too dry… the dominant tone is glumly impersonal – sufficient to prompt thought but not to provoke action.
Michael Coveney: Whatsonstage
… I’m doing my best to try and make this sound interesting, which is more than Katie Mitchell’s new show does. 2071 is one of the most outrageously anti-theatrical events I’ve ever attended. Auditions must have gone on for weeks to find the most boring and incompetent speaker in the world… Professor Chris Rapley… the talking clock is Judi Dench in comparison… The one positive thing the prof says we can do… is pray that our grandchildren will become missionary engineers and slow down the process of self-elimination. The prof almost showed a flicker of emotion at this idea, but stopped himself just in time… Had it been more interestingly presented, it could have amounted to the starkest message on a stick ever mounted at the Royal Court. Instead, it’s probably the worst play ever seen on that hallowed stage.
Categories: Review Round Up