#Review: Living In The Time of Extinction – Shakespeare North Playhouse –  17th May 2023


Emotionally uncomfortable, yet fascinating.  

Astonishing factual.  

Ingeniously inventive. 

The difference between death and extinction is this: 

Death is to cease to exist. Extinction is to extinguish. I think of death as… individual. Extinction is collective.”


A performance powered by bicycles – yes really! I was intrigued to see how this would work.  From the outset, this monologue made you question your contribution to and destruction of – our beautiful planet.

A monologue for one hour, fifteen minutes is no easy feat to carry off yet, Shareesa Valentine did this expertly.  She lured the audience from the outset of this one woman show to believe that other cast members had suffered a tragedy and no longer could perform so she would have to go on and carry the show on her own.  The links were seamless; the lines complicated and highly scientific.  Both my husband and myself learned more about the evolution of the planet than any science lesson had previously ever taught us.  Valentine talked and guided the audience through the first to sixth tragedies of mass extinction.  

Clever writing from Miranda Rose Hall made us question ourselves via thought provoking questions. It was darkly funny, overwhelmingly sad at times yet, with audience participation at certain points, spirits were lifted.  

The quirkiness and USP of the show was that all lighting and sound equipment was turned off for the performance and four cyclists on  ‘sit up and beg’ style cycles, generated enough pedal power linked to the generator (visible on stage at all times displaying the rate of electricity being generated) to provide enough electricity for the sound and lighting equipment to work.  Commendations for this life affirming show need to go to the  director Nathan Powell. 

This play paves the way forward in eco theatre-making. It is highly innovative and innovative helping us to confront the urgent ecological disaster that is unfolding around us. As if this isn’t enough of a reason to go …It is performed at Shakespeare North’s ‘Jewel in Liverpool’s crown’ Theatre which has recently been awarded the prestigious accolade of the 2023 winner of Theatre Of The Year. You can even still smell the cut of fresh wood!

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