Armageddapocalypse: The Explosioning

Wed 3rd – Sun 28th August 2011


Rebecca Tatlow

at 09:21 on 7th Aug 2011



As the name suggests, this comedy is a pastiche of all those action films so riddled with cliches that you wonder if anyone oversaw the plot in any capacity. With terrible puns ('gunfinished business'), a german villain and tragic backstories, 'Armageddapocalypse: The Explosioning' is based upon Jane Austen's 'Sense and Sensibility' with a few tweaks- more guns and explosions.

Dr Apocalypse, a man so evil he made Quorn feel, has been paroled and is determined to destroy America by blowing up the entire world with a Quantum bomb. Fortunately, his life long enemy, Jack Lang, a renegade agent who doesn't play by the book but always gets the job done, is at hand to prevent this catastrophe occurring. He's not sure why it's his problem exactly but he's willing to be a hero if the fiesty but worldweary Miss Jennica Wildfire, played by Tamara Astor, accompanies him on his mission. Everything will be fine so long as no one asks him to tidy his desk.

It may all sound incrediably familiar but what perhaps sets this apart from other spoof action films are the interruptions of Zack-Jack 'the Zach' Jackson (Johan Munir) in a Director's commentary. These, along with the script in general, are genuinely funny. The writers, James Moran and Lucien Young who also star as the show's hero and villain, have included material reminiscent of a whole range of films and even managed to force in a reference to 'Inception'. Moreover, you can tell that the cast have had a great time rehearsing and honing their bad-acting skills.

To counter the kind of special effects expected of such a blockbuster you will be delighted with shadow puppets and a strobe light which provide slow-motion gun fights. In addition, the show probably also has both the shortest and the vaguest countdowns in history.

This show won't offer you any sort of catharsis or emotional integrity but that is to be expected. 'Armageddapocalypse: The Explosioning' is firmly but securely embedded in it's genre with a great deal of humour which will please anyone who has strong feelings about explosions.


Fen Greatley

at 13:59 on 7th Aug 2011



The Brits are terribly self-deprecative; it's one of our defining features, don't you know, alongside queueing and complaining about the weather and everything else. Thus send-ups go down very well with British audiences, and that's exactly how this show was received.

Using the framing device of a director's commentary around a parody itself, this team of mostly-Cantabrigian postgrads delivers an insightful and amusing spoof movie, exposing all that is formulaic about action films.

Much of the comedy within the 'film' sketches is verbal slapstick, based on incompetence and misunderstanding, peppered occasionally with more subtle irony and crass double entendres – a great variation for all audience levels, but casting its net quite far.

All the trademark elements of any Bond film are there and easily identifiable, without giving away the plot: a flawed but loveable maverick type; a stunning female accomplice with intimacy issues; inevitable sexual chemistry between the two; endless plot twists and turns, including double, triple, quadruple... you lose track-agency, as well as a reliance on sudden revelatory plot devices.

There are deeper, more astute elements that show real consideration during the writing process for this piece: unjustified product placement; blinding us with science; revelation of the evil genius' motivations. Doctor Apocalypse is the archetypal villain, complete with terrible German accent.

The director's comments play to their own predictability, capitalising on what we expect. They're pertinent, too – this show is like a deconstruction of other Fringe shows such as 'Lights! Camera! Improvise!' How refreshing to see an accountable director, admissive of his cheesy lines and questionable sedgeways .

Perhaps someone else would have rated this more highly – there's great detail shown in the use of generic mood music and recreation of thrilling suspense scenes shown through canvas shadows. Self-referential critical voices come across from the actors (“I'm at the low point of my narrative arc!”) Yet, while the writing is fairly strong, it's nothing special; it's hypocritical, actually, since the smug premise of the show is to draw on the use of lowest-common-denominator techniques, but this is in essence achieved through lowest-common-denominator humour, mostly lacking sophistication. How good is the funny? It's alright but not slick or hugely rehearsed. Three-star funny for your money.


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