Multiple writers, four storylines, two hours, one apocalypse – there’s a meteor heading towards Earth!
This character study delves into how each person interestingly deals with their precious last minutes in their own ways.
A secret location is always intriguing. The plays aren’t held in a regular theatre, but somewhere unique to Bath Fringe Festival. You could say the building has a somewhat fittingly derelict vibe, and was certainly a little cosy at times.
The audience was split into two groups, so we saw events unfold in different orders. Now let’s explore each of the acts…
Our first room’s story focuses on Fran, a depressed young woman. She spends her day in bed, swallowing pills and listening to her mother’s kind, but overbearing voicemails in the lead up to the World’s end. Another woman bursts into the room, smugly drinking tea and spouting manipulative comments. Is she Fran’s real mother, or all in her head? That’s up for interpretation.
Whatsoever Parts the Hoof
A man dressed like the Eleventh Doctor, a narcissist glued to his phone, a hungry girl, and an empty stool (or invisible harmful figure?) all sit in a pub playing history’s longest game of chess. But why is there no panic about their impending doom?
It gradually transpires that we’re watching the human embodiments of The Four Horsemen of the Apocalypse, soon joined by a surprise latecomer. And wow, these actors can talk for days.
I’ve never seen such an enthusiastic, fast-paced act that can bounce between subjects so effortlessly before. Matthew Grace’s clearly researched writing played a huge part in this. A special mention goes to Callum Hughes’ portrayal of rambling Mark, AKA War.
Here, we meet a solitary man wearing headphones in his unkempt bedroom. What comes next is 80% monologue – part rant, part passionate storytelling – covering topics from Tupperware to his love of TV crime shows. Facehugger’s relevance was the trickiest to decipher.
Personally, I think it would have worked far better as a separate production (unrelated to the apocalypse) allowing more time to explore how our leading man got into his bizarre situation. Still, there’s no denying that Ellis J. Wells brilliantly holds a majority of the play on his own, emotively conveying so much dialogue with ease.
How Soon Is Now
Heading down to the venue’s basement, we find semantic politician Grace and American scriptwriter Tim, contemplating life and accepting their fate. This was the calmest act, and it was refreshing to see how the duo handled the clichéd ‘man and woman get stuck in a bunker’ scenario.
Apocalypse successfully injects the right amount of humour into its thought-provoking themes. As an experimental production, much of the plays’ running times require effort in piecing hints together, forming one large puzzle.
You’ll probably leave with more unresolved questions (it is the end of the world after all) which isn’t necessarily a bad thing, just up to personal preference. Insightful and unexpected storytelling.
_ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _ _
Reviewer: Lauren Skillman | Rating: **** Four Stars | Production: Fake Escape