Presented by Boston Actors Theater
By Elizabeth DuPré
Directed by Drew Jacobs
May 6-21, 2016
Rehearsal Hall A at the Boston Center for the Arts
Boston Actors Theater on Facebook
Review by Travis Manni
(Boston, MA) As a manager at a movie theatre, I see quite a lot of mediocre movies come and go rather quickly. I always feel a special type of sympathetic pity for the rom-coms that just don’t do the business studios had expected, and I have to say I felt a similar way after going to see the Boston Actors Theater premiere production of End of the World.
The title of the show had me hooked because I love a good apocalypse; I mean, who doesn’t love the idea of an end to the human race? And to present this scenario in the form of a comedy?! Yes*, please! Unfortunately, I was disappointed to learn that this play focused more on an underlying, and wholly unriveting, romance rather than having a sharp comedic tone.
Rebecca Strong (Alice McGill) and Simon Edwards (Alex Jacobs) are two lead researchers monitoring the trajectory of a massive asteroid that is expected to collide with earth and destroy the planet. With the help of their assistant Holly (Elizabeth Battey), a scatterbrained scientist, they try (and fail) during several attempts to change the path of the celestial boulder.
They announce the world is doomed, and we learn that countries are crumbling into chaos. Riots, looting, and gang violence break out, but all the two researchers can focus on is the blossoming love they’ve suddenly discovered for each other after hooking up on the roof.
The performers in this show were well cast and I enjoyed watching them play out their scenes. Strong as Dr. McGill was confident and sassy, and Jacobs as her beau Simon was charming. However, I must say that Battey as the cracked out Holly (yes, that’s right—turns out she’s been cooking more than solutions on those Bunsen burners) was the real comedic star of this show. Her character was the perfect balance of zany weirdness and socially awkward to keep me invested, and I was disappointed her stage time was so limited, meth-head-like tendencies aside.
Where this show did struggle was its script and storyline. The comedy wasn’t particularly clever, and the plot could’ve been much more fascinating. But playwright Elizabeth DuPré’s decision to boil down an apocalyptic comedy into a mellow romance with strokes of light humor left me feeling robbed. If I wanted to see a slightly below average rom-com I would’ve gone to see Mother’s Day at my theatre, which would likely have also been cute but lacking in poignancy and an arching message of love.
Revolving this story around the idea of, “what does one do when the fate of humanity is inevitable,” was smart, but the show’s overall impact was far from cosmic. The humor was light and kept the audience afloat, but was unable to hold my interest for its two-act length.
End of the World runs for 2 hours with one intermission. You can purchase tickets by clicking here.