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I Love You But We Only Have Fourteen Minutes to Save the Earth

by Rhian Kennedy / 1st April 2011

With the media putting increasing emphasis on living greener and preserving the environment, it seems everyone today has their own ideas about what to do to save the planet. Conceived and directed by Nathan Evans and crowd-funded through www.indiegogo.com, I Love You But We Only Have Fourteen Minutes to Save the Earth captures what Timberlina, Kate Pelling, Fancy Chance, Bette Bourne and David Hoyle would do if they only had 14 minutes till the end of the world. Using a mix of theatre, cabaret and video art, the show presents five very different reactions to the doomsday countdown.

From the moment I entered the Oval House Theatre the atmosphere was electric. I had a ticket to see this exciting new project and if I didn’t feel lucky enough before I got there I certainly did after hearing snatches of conversation from other audience members about how upset their friends were they hadn’t got tickets.

Bearded lady Timberlina kicks off the evening with a look at what you could do if you bought the earth. As the countdown ticks away she leads us through her ideas for a world peace tour on the royal yacht, how to reduce carbon emissions and the horrible effects of producing oil, all while making sandwiches and projecting helpful green cleaning tips on the screen behind her. But with only fourteen minutes before we can save the Earth we all need to decide if we should save it, and why. With helpful audience suggestions, we came up with many reasons to save the Earth including sunsets, kittens and fucking.

Film and projection was used to great effect, with video contributions from Kate Pelling and Bette Bourne. In Kate’s stream-of-consciousness performance about the more narcissistic side of impending doom, she approaches self-preservation in the form of creating a lasting image of yourself and how your memory could live on forever as a gold statue.

Opposing this idea is Bette Bourne’s tale of love and war: a five-minute film about the Cuban missile crisis of 1962 and how two men decide they can’t do anything about it, so may as well go home and “fuck each other’s brains out”. After this rather romantic tale the countdown continues and we are left with some atmospheric music, condoms and a few minutes to act out the moral of the story ourselves. Now maybe I’m just boasting, but I think I need more than a few minutes to be able to do that.

As with Kate Pelling, Fancy Chance takes us through her own ideas of what to do during impending doom with a comical and moving look into her dual heritage and how she considers herself to be lucky in the life she has had, how there could have been so many different ways her life could have gone. She took us from American beauty queen, with a wonderful rendition of Greatest Love of All by Whitney Houston, through a mini autobiography of Fancy Chance and finally to a Kim Jong Il/Elvis hybrid singing Can’t Help Falling in Love.

David Hoyle’s closing performance treats us to an absorbing and enjoyable exploration of ideas about love, politics and normality. With so much to fit into fourteen minutes, Hoyle brings up huge ideas in a wonderfully funny way, and then moves on with the refrain “I’ll leave it with you.” The actor emphasizes how we don’t love and connect with each other as much as we should. He infers this is because of all this so called ‘social networking’, and quite rightly points out that “you can only truly connect with someone when they are sat on your face.”

Through the scrutiny of so many ideas and with the countdown constantly ticking away, the show is fast-paced, thought-provoking, and extremely entertaining. I hope this work-in-progress becomes a fully fledged run. It raises big ideas without being preachy, uses comedy without ridiculing and leaves you pondering what you really would do if the world was about to end.

I Love You But We Only Have Fourteen Minutes to Save the Earth. Directed by Nathan Evans. Oval House Theatre, Kennington Oval, London. 20 March. £5. www.ovalhouse.com

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