Polaris (2 stars)

This article is from 2018


Alex Brown-Harvey

Twee and trite exploration of vital issues

Male privilege, the double standards to which men and women are held, migration, climate change, consent and female empowerment are crucial issues, yet despite their charming presentation, the three tales that make up Polaris lack depth and conclude with an appeal to the fundamental similarity of all people … and dinosaurs.

Those three stories, including one in the cretaceous era with a tyrannosaurus joining a tribe of velociraptors, take on huge themes and render them simplistically. The points about male privilege (in outer space) are well-made, if clumsy, the Year Ten travails of two young women is clearer but the dinosaur story fails to make coherent points about the exclusion of migrants or environmental devastation. Holly Norrington and Teddy Lamb have lovely presences, and jump between the three narratives easily, while making a live soundtrack, but the attempt to take on weighty topics is undermined by the shallow conclusions.

Using a tyrannosaurus as a migrant is a splendid example of 'fantastic racism'; there is a confusion about whether the school story is about sexual double standards or informed consent; the arrival of meteorites to conclude all three performances sets the human worries against a vast, cosmic hostility that cannot be escaped nor prevented. Against the gentle dramaturgy, Polaris cannot contain the weight of its subjects.

Pleasance Courtyard, until 27 Aug (not 14), 12.55pm £7.50–£9.50 (£6.50–£9).


  • 2 stars

Holly & Ted Join Holly and Ted on a fantastical adventure through time and space. Tracy and Val are dinosaurs from different cultures. Aoife is a female astronaut leading a crew of distrusting males. Sarah-Jane and Lou-Ann are two teenage girls just trying to survive Year 10. Polaris explores the normalisation of…