With a title that sounds like it came from a B Movie generator (and who knows, this is Edinburgh, it might have done), Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair is the latest irreverent offering from Beach Comet, the creators of last year’s Fringe cult hit Vampire Hospital Waiting Room. As the name suggests, it’s all fairly straightforward; we’re on a cruise ship, there’s a boy and a girl (several, actually), and it’s the end of the world. Psychotic Captain Bleaufont (Joe McArdle) is convinced that his long lost love awaits him in the heart of a deadly storm, whilst cruise rep Hanks Leeroys (Craig Methven) is battling with his cardinal rule – not to fall in love with the passengers.
What follows is an hour of impudent satire that takes the traditional musical and adds lashings of 21st century Carry On – think HMS Pina-foreplay. Apocalypse is an hour long B-movie disaster with jazz hands and a backing chorus, and thankfully much better acting than Piranhas 3D. Joe McArdle delivers the Captain’s most devastating put downs with aplomb (and a wonderful anyone-for-tennis accent), His Kenneth Williams style cabin boy Fittels (Will Hearle) plays the foolish counterpart to Joe’s seething anger with pinpoint timing, and belts out a good tune too. However, the runaway star of the show is Roz Ford as octogenarian Vera; she inhabits her eerily lecherous role with a physicality and vigour that had the audience rolling with laughter.
The songs are expertly constructed, and the company sing well together – they’re almost too good for the B movie genre and silly plot line. However, one small sticking point lies in the physical staging of the show; the audience is not on a rake and therefore can’t see much floor work, and this is compounded by the venue not off-setting their chairs. Ultimately an easy fix, and a problem frequent in fringe venues, but worth considering when the show starts to sell out to the back of the room.
Apocalypse is your perfect post lunch pick-me-up – there may be no life boats on this cruise, but you’d be stupid not to jump aboard anyway.
Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair will be continuing its run at the Gilded Balloon in Edinburgh until the 29 August, with daily performances at 1.30pm (with the exception of Monday 15th, when there is no performance). You can buy tickets from the Edinburgh Fringe Box Office here.
CAST AND CREATIVES
Writer / Director – Theo McCabe
Captain Bleaufont – Joe McArdle
Fittles – Will Hearle
Hanks Leeroys – Craig Methven
Evie Lowe – Imogen Brabant
Orde – Steve Duffy
Vera – Roz Ford