Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair

Wed 3rd – Mon 29th August 2016

reviews

Serena Basra

at 21:30 on 19th Aug 2016

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‘Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair’ is a veritable feast of daft comedy, which truly lives up to its bizarre and long-winded name. The show centres around a trip to the Caribbean, which is led astray by the psychotic Captain Bleaufont, who plunges the ship into the eye of an apocalyptic storm in a desperate bid to locate Mandy, his love who was lost at sea 20 years prior.

If you are a fan of highbrow humour then perhaps go elsewhere, as this piece is a showcase of silliness. Roz Ford’s performance dazzles in this sense as her entertaining portrayal of octogenarian Vera reveals a great deal of humour in crudity. Equally as talented is Joe McArdle whose delightfully offbeat delivery provides a welcome element of dark humour. His scathing putdowns of cabin boy Fittels (Will Hearle) are executed with such comic prowess that he fails to leave the audience in anything other than rapturous laughter.

The plot of the piece is simplistic. A classic Hollywood ending is to be expected in such a spoof-style comedy, yet the musical relishes its predictable nature as the writing throughout remains wonderfully self-aware. There are well-placed instances of audience interaction; cruise rep Hanks Leeroys (Craig Methven) often darts a comedic facial expression towards the crowd which at times is reminiscent of a Carry On film. However, in moments such as these it is a shame that parts of the stage are partially obscured, an issue which is often the case at Fringe venues, but a fault that could be easily remedied.

Set to an original score this piece of musical theatre is supported by a vivacious cast, and it is this high-energy which allows instances of pitchy singing to be easily forgiven. The songs are both heart-warming and hilarious, allowing moments of charming romance to be ludicrously transformed into something reminiscent of a cabaret. Admittedly it would be interesting to see the musical team experiment more with melodies, as often the songs lapse into similar styles. These do become somewhat repetitive.

Overall, Beach Comet have created a truly wonderful and surreal piece of theatre, and whilst an apocalypse may not seem the most cheerful choice of subject matter, this show is sure to leave you with a smile on your face.

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Ellie Donnell

at 21:43 on 20th Aug 2016

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One look at the title of Beach Comet’s ‘Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair’ warns you that this is a show of the wacky, eclectic and probably comedic kind. Well - it’s about a love affair. On a cruise ship. During an apocalypse. So yes, you would be right. As Captain Bleaufont sails in quest to resurrect his lost love, Mandy, the audience becomes caught up in the hysterical romantic relationships between each crew member during an apocalyptic storm.

The script's hilarity stems from a combination of classic wordplay, raunchy jokes, malapropisms and downright rudeness. The Captain’s treatment of the extremely camp and loveable Fittles as he constantly swears and tells him to ‘Shut Up!’ doesn’t fail to coax a chuckle from the audience, whilst his cutting and audacious edge works well against the comically hyperbolic tone of the piece. The cruise rep mistakes the word ‘Apocalypse’ for ‘I’ll pucker my lips’ whist the captain screeches ‘puppies cock’ instead of ‘poppycock’. The use of wordplay feels nostalgically old school but it is such obvious humour that delights and entertains, contributing to the overall daftness of the piece.

The two stand out characters are the captain and the cruise rep, played by Joe McArdle and Craig Methven respectively. They are the antithesis of one another, the former stern and grumpy whilst the latter is dressed in brightly coloured Hawaiian clothes and armed with a goofy smile. The cruise rep evokes roaring laughter at his bizarrely unrecognisable accent. It is best described as an awful attempt at Australian, but with a lilt, and the audience can’t help but laugh when one crew member blatantly refers to him as Canadian. Falling in love with a nun, he sings about love at first sight declaring "I think I just fell in love with six inches of face" - for, indeed, this is all he sees. Again, the humour seems obvious and undeniably bonkers, yet it is the show's dysphemistic absurdness that is so terribly funny.

The live music and songs are all original and entertaining, which is particularly impressive as the show relies so much upon the success of its musical and dance numbers. ‘Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair’ is crude, catchy and crazy, yet is a surprisingly funny piece of original theatre. A great watch if you fancy a laugh at something wonderfully weird.

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