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PUBLISHED: 12:05 04 February 2010 | UPDATED: 17:18 16 August 2010

CONFUSED CLOWNING: Jay Miller,  Tamsin Clarke and Thom Monckton.

CONFUSED CLOWNING: Jay Miller, Tamsin Clarke and Thom Monckton.

ADVERTISED as a play about global warming, The Forecast - at the Greenwich Playhouse - presents its topic in such a subtle way that

ADVERTISED as a play about global warming, The Forecast - at the Greenwich Playhouse - presents its topic in such a subtle way that you'd be forgiven for thinking it has no point at all, writes Mark Campbell.

Running for just under an hour, this is a physical theatre piece devised and created by Marvin and the Cats in association with Match Theatre, and directed by Sasha Milavic Davies.

It is about three wealthy cruise ship passengers who are marooned on a makeshift raft when the ship sinks. They are then rescued.

It's more of an incident than a story, and would probably work well as a 20-minute sketch alongside more substantial offerings.

But on its own, and stretched beyond breaking point, it struggles to maintain any real identity.

If it is an allegory about global warming or climate change (theories that can be used to explain either excessive heat or excessive cold), it is a comprehensive failure.

Any ideological, political or ethical issues were lost on me. I just saw three hard-working actors clowning around on wooden planks. A lot of it was very funny, and all of it extremely well choreographed and performed, but it didn't seem to be 'about' anything.

The three performers, who were trained in mime and circus skills, resembled characters from Scooby Doo.

Thom Monckton was Shaggy, blessed with limbs that could rotate in any direction and a body that appeared entirely boneless.

Jay Miller, playing an ace tennis pro, was the blond, square-jawed Fred, while Tamsin Clarke was a gawky, tomboyish Velma.

One of the funniest set pieces saw the characters attempting to eat lipstick in order to stave off their hunger pangs.

An extended slapstick routine, it had the added benefit of a modicum of poignancy, something missing from the rest of the play.

Much is made of the allure of a half-full bottle of water, while the inevitable cannibal routine - in which the characters explode with ecstasy as they gnaw into each other's flesh - gives rise to an ending in which fantasy appears to co-exist with reality.

Were these rich white passengers supposed to represent worldwide corporations or governments? Was the raft indicative of our fragile world?

Was the sinking ship something to do with...oh, who knows?

Just think of it is an extended (and very expensive to watch) episode of Mr Bean - with added pretentiousness.

Mark Campbell

* The next production at the Greenwich Playhouse is Twelfth Night by William Shakespeare, from 16 February. Box office - 020 8858 9256.

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