Review: Patina

Patina takes one to the heart of a playland and contrasts it with a modern emergency

By Katrina Turchin: BTR Writer and Has Never Pretended to be Invisible

The day Patina Bellwether became minder of Smaland was the best day of her life, but the children stopped coming to Smaland and things quickly took a turn. Where did all the children go?

Patina tells the story of Patina Bellwether, the minder at Ikea’s Smaland otherwise known as the “land of dreams.” The one-woman show begins with Patina expressing her love for all things Smaland when she receives a phone call from corporate. The call is threatening the closure of the indoor playground. Patina is willing to do everything she can to keep Smaland alive and open for the children who she is deeply concerned about for many reasons. What seems to be a play about Smaland quickly becomes a play about something more timely: climate change. 

What the play lacks is a smooth metaphor between Smaland and the crisis and switches gears abruptly between the topics of Smaland and climate change without clear transition. The only connection is that, like Smaland, our current world also seems to be nearing the end of its time. As the play goes on, it becomes more about the latter topic with plenty of anecdotes about climate change and threatened species and ecosystems. 

To answer the question at the beginning of this review, the children are no longer in Smaland because, according to Patina, they’re all protesting climate change instead of doing what children should be doing — playing. Patina was inspired by Greta Thunberg and towards the end, she becomes the idol of the play. The final message of Patina is that no one is too small to make a change. 

The dramatic play is not the show for you if you need a pick-me-up, but Patina is fantastic if you need a wake-up. 


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