Is New Years anything special, or just another day? This is a central question within 00, a messy but pleasant play about two bickering schoolgirl siblings who stumble upon Y2K survivalists as the millennial midnight approaches. The eldest sister believes the new year will be the “start of everything”, while the survivalist couple thinks it signals the end, but for the youngest sister the date holds no grand significance; the Earth has merely completed its orbit once again, and they are right back where they started.
The expectations around the approaching hour form the relatively light-hearted drama of the play’s first half, focused mainly on how anticipation of the future forces contemplation of it. In reality, when the new millennium arrived, nothing happened. But it is here 00 gets experimental, instead of exploring radically different possibilities of the aftermath with short vignettes, including depictions of both post-Apocalyptic lives, and simply post-2000s ones.
The second half is the more interesting one, but also the most muddled, where the disparate segments dilute the potency and impact of the play. Instead of being a surreal examination of ‘parallel realities’, which appears to be the intent, the segments range from fun (including a great S Club 7 dance routine) to trite, being overall too brief and sparse, degenerating into a silly sketch-show rather than remaining a compelling play.
The characters also feel slightly shallow, and are so confrontational they risk becoming unpleasant. Credit should be given to the actors, whose performances grant some energy and charm to otherwise underwritten characters. In fairness, confessional monologues in the play’s second half allow moments of insight and sincerity that brings greater appreciation to the play, albeit without affecting the plot amongst the self-contained second-half segments. The actors also lack assistance from the bare staging but provide enough grounding on their own to keep the audience engaged throughout the runtime.
Overall, 00 is able to entertain while providing some surprisingly gentle insights about time, and how it should be treasured. Even though the world didn’t end after Y2K, the play seems to say, the lives lived after it are still significant, as all lives are. 00 is fairly uneven but has enough charm to be endearing, and worth the time taken to see it. Within the play, the instant before the year 2000 is when everyone’s predictions could be right, a moment of endless possibilities. And within 00, such potential is only partially delivered.
’00’ is on at Pleasance, Jack Dome, (Venue 23)
On 10th-12th, 14th-25th August at 10:50
Get tickets here
Image: Maddy Cavaliero Knox