Jordan Hall’s 2016 play is making its European premiere at London’s Finborough Theatre in a production directed by Jimmy Walters.
There are two important things to note about this play. First of all, it won’t teach you how to survive an apocalypse. Secondly, for those expecting it to be a topical production about the pandemic, it was actually written a few years ago: it focuses on a group of millennials who are acutely aware of the difficult life hands they’ve been dealt, and are considering how best to equip themselves to navigate a potentially disastrous future.
It describes itself as a romantic comedy for the end of days, but if we’re being honest it’s a little light on laughs – there are some mildly entertaining jokes and some amusing observations, but there are only one or two laugh-out-loud moments. It’s heavier on the drama and there are even some really quite bleak moments – if you’re looking for a comedy to lift your mood (and we do all need a hearty dose of escapism right now), this probably isn’t the one.
We weren’t completely sold on the script, either. Yes, there are one or two absolute zingers, and a handful of astute observations, but for the most part the dialogue is perfunctory and occasionally clunky. It doesn’t feel like a particularly solid foundation for the actors to work with, which is a shame, as there are some reasonably solid acting performances to be found here. Kristin Atherton is believable as frustrated editor Jen: trying but struggling to keep it all together, we related to her character the most. Noel Sullivan is mild and likeable as her husband Tim, Christine Gomes is warm and impresses with good comic time, and Ben Lamb puts in a commendable effort although the part of Bruce feels more like a plot device than a nuanced character.
How To Survive An Apocalypse provides a perfectly entertaining evening of theatre, although it’s a little uninspiring. We felt the issues lay more with the source material than with the actors or this production, however; the script isn’t quite funny enough to be a comedy, nor exciting enough to be a drama – it sort of sits a bit awkwardly and unsatisfyingly between the two. It never bored us, and it certainly had its moments, but we don’t think this is one that’s going to stay with us, either.
GAY TIMES gives How To Survive An Apocalypse – 3/5
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