I went to see ‘Fools of the Apocalypse’ at the Shoebox Theatre last night. If I’d taken a wrong turning at the Health Hydro (where the Shoebox is now based) I would have seen a whole lot more. Did you know that the Swindon Naturist Society hire out the facilities at the Hydro on a Saturday night? You do now. This has nothing to do with the play I’m supposed to be reviewing, and probably has no place being shared in the e-pages of an esteemed organ like the Swindonian, but I had to tell someone.
Back on topic: ‘Fools of the Apocalypse’ is, simply put: clown show + Armageddon. The eponymous fools of the title (played by Alex Newport and Georgia Andrews) are the only survivors of a nuclear conflagration and it’s up to them to rebuild civilisation.
“Only one problem stands in their way: They’re both idiots.”
I’ll be honest: I have to be in the right mood to watch mute visual clowning like this. Especially on a late Saturday afternoon when I’m usually still trying to shrug off the dregs of a hangover. However, Scram Collective’s debut show, “Whimsy”, was well received at the old Shoebox and the venue has a good record for presenting interesting and original content as part of their programme so I went in with an open mind.
I’m glad I did. ‘Fools of the Apocalypse’ is an extremely enjoyable 45 minutes of beguiling and full-heartened silliness. With the real world seemingly teetering on the verge of collapse around us at the moment it’s a salve to watch two skilled physical performers monkey about in its ruins. And its an essentially hopeful piece as well. It embodies the sense that so long as people in trying circumstances are willing and able to come together in trying circumstances then hope can never be truly lost.
Oh and there was a game and someone in the audience won a Twix. I think the Royal Shakespeare Company would shift a lot more tickets if people went in knowing that Mark Rylance would be handing out free confectionery.
“A Wispa, a Wispa; my kingdom for a Wispa!”
Other chocolate bars are available.
Fools of the Apocalypse will be appearing at the Camden Fringe in August (https://www.camdenfringe.com). For Naked Swimming and Spa Night at the Health Hydro please contact the Swindon Naturalist Society.