Rain and Zoe Save the World ★★ Jermyn Street Theatre | Feb 10 - Mar 12, 2022


Rain and Zoe set out on a journey to participate in a climate change protest, but there are other purposes for their travels. Zoe is hoping to reconnect with her mother who is an activist attending the rally, and along the way, Rain deals with the memory of a father who has deserted his family. Both teenagers are trying to find their place in the world while simultaneously trying to save a world threatened by climate change, pollution by pipelines and the machinations of the energy industry. The plot really has too much going on and it is often difficult to grasp what we are meant to take from the teenagers' odyssey. There are dark forebodings about the apparent futility of protest and also apparent warnings about the dangers of activism becoming violent. However, the position of the play on both these issues seems ambiguous. Also the nuances of these debates get lost in a buddy story that may be a love story, a political commentary that may be a search for personal belonging, and a tale of adolescent adventure that may be a Bonnie and Clyde knock-off. For Mei Henri as Zoe and Jordan Benjamin as Rain another major challenge they face is playing young teenagers. It is always difficult to catch the confidence, naïveté and spontaneity of youth without it ringing false. Kudos to Richard Holt and Salma Shaw who play all the other roles in the piece and create a credible motorcycle and a delightful frog. While Rain and Zoe Save the World raises some important issues, it still faces some challenges of its own. Just like how to address the problems raised by Rain and Zoe's story, for us, the play remains a work in progress.

Rated: ★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Alistair Muir.

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