“I wanted to pretend I hadn’t helped.”
Ashley Milne’s Thirst pins blame on a fictional bottled water company for destroying the lives and habitats of locals in Truro, Cornwall. The children of the guilty party steal the family boat with a romantic interest, which turns out to be more orchestrated than first anticipated.
James Chetwood resumes the role of Toby, an entitled and confident young adult with ideals in abundance. Chetwood captures this careless glee with great comic timing, setting up an endearing relationship with Nell, played by Geebs Williams, a seemingly naïve stranger from a night out in Clapham hanging on Toby’s every word. Williams and Chetwood introduce us to a common feeling of helplessness and withdrawal as they drink and dance to the only song on Nell’s playlist… by the Beach Boys.
However, the real controversy lies with Toby’s sister Flora, whom Toby has kidnapped with the intention of blackmailing their dad (owner of the bottled water company) into ceasing his horrifically unsustainable practices. Flora, played by Tallula Francis, calls into question the validity of Toby’s prophet-like ideals, pointing out that they contributed to their dad’s malpractices whilst working for his company.
Thirst depicts a clear portrait of the attitudes towards unsustainable environmental policies. Flora’s admission “I wanted to pretend I hadn’t helped” contributes to a common argument that the fault lies within the big oil companies and that the individual isn’t to blame, whilst Toby’s speeches for his blackmail videos expose the aimless desperation involved in the plan from start to finish.
Thirst is a fun and thoughtful new piece with a fresh approach to encourage one of the biggest contemporary conversations we face.
Review: Sebastian Calver