By Richard Bean
Library Theatre Company
The Lowry, 28 September 2012
It is a difficult trick to pull off, a play that addresses or deals with scientific issues in an intelligent manner.
For on the one hand there is the imperative to deliver drama, entertainment and memorable characters. Yet, on the other hand, you must be accurate when it comes to the science, as objective as science prides itself on being. To invent a perpetual motion machine would seem to be an easier proposition.
Bean’s main character Dr. Diane Cassell (Cate Hamer) is a scientist who is sceptical about the consensus when it comes to claims of global warming, climate change caused by human activity. Around her, Bean constructs a quirky and ultimately quite moving comedy.
The play succeeds, yes because of its humour, but above all because these characters, and especially the young, are shown to be as fragile (and perhaps as damaged) as the eco-system itself. It’s also fortunate for Bean that his play has been brought to life by as astute a director as Chris Honer and this terrific cast. They were wonderful, with Stuart Fox as Kevin, a career academic whose hippie past glimmers dimly then sparks into life, being the pick of the performances for me.
Certain lines in the play will undoubtedly age – references to The Archers and EastEnders, say – but if a play puts you in mind of Copenhagen and Arcadia (and reminds you, incidentally, how well Honer and company did with that one) then it must have an awful lot going for it. This Library Theatre production of The Heretic, at The Lowry until 13 October, does just that. Details of future performances can be found below: