By the end of fckd! Lize van Olden does an inspired imitation of climate activist Greta Thunberg. “This is all wrong,” she begins, fists clenched and eyes narrowed. She roars over trees and glaciers until she is stopped by Anna Hermanns. “Of course nobody listens to this. Too negative.”
fckd! is an absurdist ‘climate comedy full of infotainment’ and na unsexed OldenHermanns’ second performance on millennial problems. Through characters, anecdotes and songs, the cabaret duo discusses the state of the climate by subtly pointing out our imperfections. After all, the corona crisis was only a “dress rehearsal”, they conclude in futuristic silver costumes from a future universe.
We get to know their future with cities full of smog and a thinned population through scenes: mother and child drive through forest fires, a climate refugee from the Randstad in the east of the Netherlands begs for a cup of oat milk, Wende and Claudia de Breij chain themselves during the floods. Carré and almost all male comedians drowned in comedy club Toomler during the Randstad crisis.
The skits are nice, but – compared to the seriousness of the climate crisis – they are a lot of laughter. Comments about wet socks and the digitally ‘rendered’ audience are frequent, and the metaphor of the frog in the increasingly warm water is hardly original. OldenHermanns does, however, come up with beautiful language finds here and there: such as the question of whether you climate warrior or climate worrier are.
A twist follows when the performance has been going on for over an hour: the duo suddenly throws off their wigs to wonder what they are actually doing. Nice and easy a performance about the climate crisis in the future, they rant. What follows is a pleasant chaos with a co2-neutral bingo, a climate quiz and a hallucinatory scene in which they pretend to be Rob Jetten and Tata Steel.
That is where OldenHermanns appears to be most powerful: in simple quarrels about ‘taffeshete’ costumes, cultured meat and laminated plastic bingo cards. When Van Olden’s fiery climate argument derails into a much too emotional sermon on morality, her powerlessness really feels urgent.
A version of this article also appeared in NRC Handelsblad on 4 April 2022
A version of this article also appeared in NRC on the morning of April 4, 2022