Friday 15 August 2014

SummerWorks Play - And Now, The End

This evening Teena and I were at the Theatre Passe Muraille to see And Now, The End, which is part of the SummerWorks Festival.Even though I am known as a happy guy, I enjoy tales about the end of the world. This looks to fit the bill.

With the announcement of the coming apocalypse, the citizens of Roxton, a small Canadian town, struggle to come to terms with their imminent doom: a young woman’s tragic past threatens her relationship with her best friend; a doctor’s profession goes from saving lives to ending them: the wife of a stranded astronaut desperately hopes for his return; a pair of slacker interns finally live their dream by hosting their own radio show. 

This new Canadian musical examines life, death, and what people choose do with the time they have left.

I didn't know how well a subject like this would work as a musical but it was fabulous. There was a live orchestra at the show and I suggested that we sit in the front row, right by where they were set up. Seemed like a good idea at the time until the music started and we couldn't hear the actors sing. We managed to move a row back and closer to the centre with disturbing only a minimum of people. Good thing we could do that as the place was packed!

A play about the end of the world will be dramatic and intense, even as a musical. The premise is that it is announced to the world that an asteroid will collide with earth in a years time, bringing mankind to extinction. During that year. we follow five separate story lines, and not only how the characters are handling the coming Apocalypse, but how society outside their doors handle it.

Thankfully there is some comedy in this piece, supplied by two radio DJs who keep broadcasting to the world. As this is a very heavy and dramatic play, these lighter moments are a welcome respite from the tension in the other parts, and are so excellently woven into the story line.

The writing was excellent and looked at the end of the world through the eyes of people in so many different situations and ages. I really don't want to say anymore that as in this play it is too easy to let slip a twist or quirk in the plot.

There were no weak performances. I enjoyed them all. I will say that I thought that Tamara Bernier Evans as Cathy and Kaleigh Gorka as Inez have fabulous voices!

As I watch a movie or play about the end of the world, it always runs around in my mind on how will the story end and will it end satisfactorily. I am pleased to say that And Now, The End does.

It is a play that is so worth seeing. I highly recommend it!

Written by Victoria Houser, Emily Nixon, Drew O'Hara, Zach Parkhurst, Jake Vanderham, Music and Lyrics by Jake Vanderham, Directed by Esther Jun, Set Design by Beth Kates, Performed by Troy Adams, Tamara Bernier Evans, Ruth Goodwin, Kaleigh Gorka, Amir Haidar, Zach Parkhurst, Hugh Ritchie, Paolo Santalucia, Jeff Yung.

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