For a play which compares itself to a different, unquestionably more successful show for its entire running time, You’re Safe Till 2024 is clever, compelling and an undeniably likeable piece of theatre.
Clocking in at just under an hour, this sciencey comedy uses Broadway hit Hamilton as its main launching pad: writer and performer David Finnigan and DJ and producer Reuben Ingall aim to tick all the boxes that a successful theatre performance should have, based on Hamilton’s core elements. The trouble is their slightly more ambiguous, distinctly less sexy material: climate change.
After talking to a bunch of climate scientists, the charming, effusive Finnigan aims to parse their esoteric, scientific understandings of climate change into layman’s terms by answering the questions: “What’s the most important change happening in the world today? What will the future look like? And how can we have hope?”
These questions have no easy answers, but Finnigan’s power over the audience is palpable. He moves a rapt crowd through stages of understanding the threats facing the planet, and then cautiously, towards the slivers of hope we have left. Ingall’s layered soundscapes manage to turn networking function chatter seamlessly into dread and pandemonium, drawing the crowd into the scene inside the intimate SBW Stables Theatre. Rounding out the musical criteria for Hamilton-level greatness, the audience is also introduced to the climate scientists’ favourite “empowering anthems”, which range (hilariously) from Ciara to Alanis Morrissette, and the mildly perplexed emails in which they divulge their choices to Finnigan, clearly wondering what the purpose of this line of questioning is.
Finnigan’s earnestness captures the numb despair of modern climate anxiety in a poignant, but not too overwhelming way. His point, of course, is that there are no pithy one-liners you can whip out to answer the toughest questions – even when they sound easy. You’re Safe doesn’t feel like a play in the strictest of senses, but this isn’t to its detriment. It’s more like a fun seminar: educational without being preachy, taught by the coolest professor at uni, with dance breaks aplenty.
You're Safe Til 2024 played Griffin Theatre's Batch Festival 2019 on April 26 and 27.