MY LOVER WAS A SALMON IN THE CLIMATE APOCALYPSE
at Edinburgh Festival Fringe
“the Bradán Theatre Company is onto something significant with their intimate, confessional style of presentation”
My Lover Was A Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse is a whimsical piece, presented by the Irish Bradán Theatre Company. It has several strengths, and one significant weakness. Nonetheless, the energy and charm of this company is worth sixty minutes of your time. With more experience, Bradán should have a bright future, climate catastrophe notwithstanding. Directed by Kate Bauer and written by James Ireland, My Lover Was A Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse is a show that will capture the imagination, even if the script still needs some work.
The Bradán Theatre Company (the word bradán means salmon in Irish) start their show with music, and you could be forgiven for thinking that this is the company’s main strength. Rory Gradon, Elinor Peregrine and the marvellous Elisabeth Flett (on violin and recorder at the back of the stage) present their story through Irish tunes, and Irish mythology, beginning with some lively jigs and the story of Finn MacCool (an Irish legend responsible for the Giant’s Causeway). My Lover Was A Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse is not about mythical giants, however. It is about a young couple, Fin (played by Gradon) and Fiona (Peregrine), navigating their relationship through times of unprecedented ecological disaster. Sam (Flett) stays in the background, commenting musically on the couple’s love story, and with some very funny facial expressions, as required. Sam is the anchor keeping us grounded in reality in this strange, and quirky tale. In a nutshell, My Lover Was A Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse is about the overly sensitive Finn. Finn identifies with the disappearing salmon off the coast of Ireland to such an extent that he begins to become one, much to Fiona’s distress.
The show is not just a story about a relationship, however, and this is where the script begins to show signs of strain. In addition to Finn and Fiona’s love story, we’re treated to mass extinctions, Irish mythology all mixed up with Irish history, and the importance of salmon as a way of keeping the population alive when there was very little to eat. The salmon make an appearance, pursued by orcas, their natural predators in the ocean. And then there are the salmon fisheries. All these elements are accompanied by wonderful music. As you might expect, Finn’s obsession with salmon takes its toll on his longstanding relationship with Fiona. This is where the show takes an existential, out of species leap, and the script collapses, much like the salmon populations of Ireland. With climate apocalypse the subject of this piece, maybe that’s intentional. Nevertheless, the Bradán Theatre Company is onto something significant with their intimate, confessional style of presentation. With a stronger script, and more development of the characters, this is a potentially a wonderful show that should play well to audiences everywhere.
If plays about climate catastrophe appeal to you, catch My Lover Was A Salmon in the Climate Apocalypse. You’ll get to savour sixty minutes of salmon related themes, accompanied by terrific music. That’s not a bad haul for audiences looking for something a little wilder on a climate theme, and off an overly familiar shore.
Reviewed 9th August 2022
by Dominica Plummer
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