According to popular reckoning, the calendar of the Mayan civilisation tells us that 21 December 2012 is the last day of planet Earth. In the shadow of this potential cataclysm, the song cycle Until Tomorrow tells the stories of characters facing choices, for, as the programme notes, “Even the flickering possibility of apocalypse is impetus for change, be it big or small”.
There are thirteen “fragments” to the performance, some worked well and others came across as requiring further development. The opening featuring a commuter singing “Does she even know my name?” about a random traveller when characters are yet to be established was a little cringe-worthy. Also, given the apocalyptic backdrop, characters wimping out on decisions to change their lives (if it’s the end of the world, why not?) caused some scenes to lack a sense of emotional truth.
Five performers play a range of different characters, sometimes distinguished by different outfits or accessories, but not always, and using this device more consistently would assist the audience in following the characters through jumps between different strands of the story.
Writers William Hannagan and Belinda Jenkin tidily performed their singing roles. Other female performers had a tendency to lose volume near the end of a phrase and had some moments bordering on the shrill, which perhaps we can put down to opening night nerves?
Joseph Naim was contained in the first few songs, but fortunately he was free to shine in the ‘Mojito’ scene. Naim’s flouncy performance and cheesy spot-lit grin as a man viewing the end of the world as no reason to leave the embrace of his favourite rum-based cocktail, and the ensuing cast dance routine, gave the show a palate refreshing irreverence.
Overall, this show was more entertaining than many shows I saw at this year’s comedy festival. The music was consistently appealing and performed with style by pianist Simon Bruckard. I would have liked more of the scenes to be as polished as the Mojito fragment … but I guess it’s not the end of the world.