15 October 2021
4.5 out of 5.0 stars
I recently attended the press night of Yellowfin, at the Southwark Playhouse. The stage was set up like a stark hearing room at Capitol Hill, with a solitary chair and desk at one end, and a raised bench with flags behind it on the other side, connected with deep red carpeting and surrounded by wood panelled walls. The raised bench is quickly occupied by three senators, Marianne, Roy, and Stephen, all in work suits, wearing severe expressions.
At the other table we have Mr. Calantini, who seems somewhat unaffected by the attempted grandeur and officialism of it all, quipping back at the senators casually and even helping himself to some snacks during the hearing. The story unfolds quickly, there once were fish, and then there were no more fish. No one knows how or why they disappeared. People have invented synthetic fish, called squibs, but they don’t quite have the taste or texture right. There is a lot of talk about flakeage, which is quite amusing. Mr. Calantini and his brother have a squib tinning company, but apparently dabbled in the illegal trade of tinned Yellowfin tuna, a highly sought after delicacy after the fishpocalypse and subsequent scarcity.
Now the senators believe Calantini has hidden a tin of even more rare Bluefin at his facilities, one of only four tins remaining in the entire world. The play asks a few very pertinent questions, while also presenting a very entertaining, if at time quite dark, storyline. In this world, people knew of the impact pollution and over-fishing had on the oceans, but nothing ever changed until it was too late. Suddenly everyone was concerned about getting sea animals back, how to preserve them, how to save the oceans. But there was nothing to be done anymore.
This argument feels very apt for our environmental debacle we are struggling with all over the world, still putting profits and comfort over the importance of preserving nature. A profound and intelligent play, timely for a world ravaged by pollution and overuse of resources. I hope this gains a larger audience to keep asking its well worded questions.