Edinburgh Festival Fringe theatre review: Rap Guide to Climate Chaos, reviewed by The Scotsman’s Sally Stott
As THE exceptionally talented Canadian rap artist Baba Brinkman launches a brilliantly lyrical description of what we can expect from the long-term effects of climate change – war, disaster and droughts – he momentarily reminds me of an evangelical Christian prophesying Judgement Day. It’s an irony he’s not unaware of, and in the latest of his series of Rap Guide to… shows he playfully pokes fun at himself, his own energy consumption and the hypocrisy of being a jobbing performer constantly in an aeroplane.
Ambitiously mashing together complex climate change research with popular culture – including the tweets of Donald Trump and the Pope – he paints a compelling picture of the interconnecting relationship between climate change deniers, corporations and capitalism (although, as someone who makes a living by charging audiences money to see his shows, he can’t completely dismiss the latter).
While it’s a formidably well-researched piece, at times audience participation is used to trick us into supporting something before we’ve had time to properly consider it in a way that feels condescending.
An oddly judged mid-show Q&A also disrupts the momentum with a man in the front row cutting through the largely entertaining mood with “The German solar energy miracle needs to be discussed” (although this does lead up to a great improvised rap routine). It’s a show that could do with a bit more polish and feels like it would better suit a cabaret setting, rather than the soulless room full of older academics it’s playing to today. However, using rap to make highly complex subject matter feel accessible and relevant, Baba also offers tangible ways of tackling climate change that – even if you disagree with them – is impressive, particularly when so many theatre companies present complex problems and then leave us to go about the difficult task of finding solutions to them.
Gilded Balloon (Venue 14), until 31 August, 7pm.
Published in The Scotsman on 24 August 2015
Picture: Kim Ritzenthaler
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