Though perhaps erring on the edu- side of edutainment, From the Wind is a charming introduction to the use of renewable energy sources on the Islands, written verbatim by Eilidh MacKinnon based on true experiences. Delivering a niche history lesson that few will have heard before, this play deftly explores the use of wind energy on Lewis, and how becoming more ecologically-minded impacts community and personal identities.
In terms of lessons learned, From the Wind is an invaluable addition to the Fringe line-up. It gives a voice to those who are rarely heard in discussions about climate change, from a grandmother who remembers the first wind turbine going up on Lewis (Isi Webb-Jenkins), to her daughter and mother-of-three who doesn’t have the time to spare for single-handedly saving the planet (Isabella Sheridan). Indeed, the passionate and explosive performance given by Sheridan as her character argues with the narrator (Daniel Heidland) about being unable to afford green energy and not wanting to waste another second sorting recycling is all too relatable in a society where the blame for the climate crisis is consistently shifted onto the consumer.
The moment is topped only by the following scene, where she admits begrudgingly that she saved money swapping to a green energy provider, and the two discuss – as smiles ping around the room – that even when it all feels hopeless, the smallest acts of change by individuals can make a difference to the planet.
Despite some moving moments, however, the staging of the play seemingly does its utmost to get in the way during moments of high impact. With seating all the way around the room, The Greenhouse venue demands creative staging. Initially, the set-up suits the venue perfectly with the actors sat in a circle, facing out at the audience. But it falls apart the moment they stand up. Poor blocking means that at certain crucial points of the play, the actors can’t help but have their back to half of the audience in what feels like an improper awareness of the space. It is an unfortunate irony that although From the Wind’s subject matter suits The Greenhouse perfectly, its stage direction does not.
From the Wind is one of a series of performances dealing with the climate crisis at The Greenhouse this Fringe. Although it is a little rough around the edges, it is an excellent place to begin for those who find themselves in need of a gentle lesson on the importance of green energy.
From the Wind is at The Greenhouse by BoxedIn Theatre, Dynamic Earth (Venue 378)
Runs until August 12th at 12:15
Buy tickets here
Image: Lara Tillotson