Skip to content ↓

ORT Report: Earthquakes In London

Birmingham Orminston Academy has brought a fantastic rendition of the play “Earthquakes In London” written by Mark Bartlett, this play following topics surrounding; global warming, social breakdown, and worldwide paranoia.

This chaotic, destruction-filled story follows the journey of three sisters trying to navigate their way through a socially corrupted society. The oldest sibling Sarah is an environment minister for a newly formed coalition government, Freya the middle child, is a teaching assistant and expecting her first baby, and the youngest; Jasmine has just been kicked out of university. This performance is set between 1968 to 2525, focusing on the three sisters' lives, which are corrupted due to their dysfunctional father {Matthew Rousseau} who is a successful scientist. This play incorporates an interesting perspective on how society and the earth has been affected by social hierarchy, overpopulation, and desire.

The use of pre-show projection set the tone for the entire play as it focused on different political and global imbalances. Modernising the play from 10 years ago and incorporating multiple different clips and moments from our present time such as Greta Thunberg and viral videos relating to the earth’s “decay” influenced how the audience reacted. The Director incorporated physical theatre into this chaotic imbalance of a performance to tell a story and revolve around the characters in a distinctive way. The opening scene of the performance exaggerated the initial intentions of overwhelming the audience; with the excellent use of physical theatre and overflowing the stage with an array of different characters and objects, thus creating a performance that followed with inclusivity and eye-widening moments throughout.

The Director and company delivered a perfectly choreographed piece of theatre that focused on exaggerating the emotions Bartlett produced in his play. Having created a journey for the audience, it didn’t hold back on bringing laughter throughout; but still causing a flood of emotions that opened your eyes to the reality of challenging topics. Having included Greta Thunberg’s speech into this play, it made the overall message highly effective. From a hilarious synchronised swimming scene to the heart-wrenching scenes between Freya and multiple different characters, memorable moments included the excellent character development from Sarah, and the actor producing a heart-warming and empowering emotion to the character of Tom that influenced audience members to feel an awakening to how we affect society and its surroundings. The set design, lighting, and music perfectly blended to create a heavier effect for the story which helped to separate certain aspects of the play and make it more understandable for the audience.

This performance influenced a change in perspective, having felt a sense of reality and overwhelming amounts of emotions; I feel privileged to have seen this play at this important moment in time. All members of the company did not hold back to amaze me, with the perfect balance between comedy and realism; this performance created a truthful and realistic insight into how we affect society today.

Memorable mentions include the hilarious character Daniel whom I couldn’t seem to stray away from and the excellent and realistic character Robert.

Alex, an acting student from Birmingham Orminston Academy