Adelaide Fringe 2012

Even If We’re The Last Two People On Earth

0 Comments 19 March 2012

Presented by Jack Atherton and the Saddlebags Motion Picture Company of Massachusetts
@ Director’s Hotel
SATURDAY 17 March

Billed as a ‘new, surreal, post-apocalyptic-romantic-black-tragi-comedy,’ Even If We’re The Last Two People On Earth centres around Lewis Sargent (Will Cox) and Emily Price (Molly McCormack), a pair of nineteen-year-old survivors who find themselves thrown together after the rest of the human race is wiped out by the apocalypse of December 21, 2012. Written and directed by Jack Atherton, the story follows the duo’s progress as they travel through the remains of society, their feelings for each other growing as they come to terms with everything they’ve lost. Along for the ride is Isabel Meow (Monica Guilhaus), an unhinged exotic dancer picked up in a strip club along the way.

The main problem with this show is the script. It isn’t without redeeming value –occasionally there are sharply-written lines which provide momentary comic relief – but on the whole it feels too long-winded, leading to the show exceeding the advertised time of 60 minutes by nearly half an hour. A fourth character, in the form of the Ghost of Post-Traumatic Stress (Matt Williams) breezes on and off stage at random intervals, rattling off lines with little to no explanation about who (or what) he actually is. Little background is given on the nature of the apocalypse itself, or how and why it happened. While this ambiguity initially provides a backdrop to the characters’ development – one of Lewis and Emily’s first real discussions highlights their conflicting theories over what’s actually happened to them – over time the lack of clarification starts to feel like a cop-out on the writer’s part.

Perhaps the greatest difficulty of all is that the narrative between Lewis and Emily doesn’t often connect with the reality of the apocalypse happening around them. In a post-apocalyptic world where food, water and survival of the fittest on a day-by-day basis are paramount, the two characters’ obsession with their own relationship – love, sex, and marriage (is that last even possible in a post-apocalyptic world?) – feels disjointed and unrealistic.

The acting is similarly patchy. Guilhaus delivers the strongest and most memorable performance of the show with her portrayal of a deranged stripper, although the non-stop wackiness does grate over time and, more dangerously, begins to overshadow the central love story between Lewis and Emily in the second half of the play. Lewis has some of the best individual lines in the show – his prayer to a ‘genocidal, megalomaniacal Lord’ is great – but Cox’s tendency to whine his lines really lets his character down. Price’s emotive performance as Emily is perhaps the most consistent of the three leads, although one could argue that her often-complaining character is the least sympathetic of the three.

I had high hopes of Even If We’re The Last Two People On Earth, and while I really tried to enjoy it, in the end I just couldn’t do it. As a hard-core fan of apocalyptic novels and films, I was eager to see how a piece of theatre in that same genre would work performed onstage. That I came out of the performance feeling let down really says it all.

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