By S Mulvihill
The premise of Do We Need You After The Apocalypse – The Game Show is fairly self-explanatory: the audience are asked to imagine the world has ended and, naturally, everyone goes to take part in a game show. Three audience members are invited onto stage to lead a team of a third of the audience, then put through a series of physical and mental challenges, being awarded prizes for a survival pack along the way depending on how they do. The team leaders are given nicknames (as no one’s real names count anymore) and we have Flameboy, a good looking American teenager, Whirlwind, a hip looking lady sporting a Fringe lanyard, and S***nuts, a nerdy trainee accountant and designated stooge, to lead us tonight. Presented by double act Jarred Christmas and Tom Davis this show looks on the surface to be a lot of fun.
And it is, up to a point. A set up like this depends a lot on the energy of the audience and perhaps it was just the effect of a rainy Thursday evening at midnight mid-fringe but there seemed to be something missing from the crowd. Christmas introduces the night, doing a typical TV game show pre-recording warm-up and strikes up a rapport with the audience but it all falls a bit flat once the show properly gets going. The chemistry between the two presenters is lacklustre and the delivery of the script is a bit stilted. More could have been left to Christmas to improvise, as it was in this area he really excelled. One felt that the crowd needed prodding with a big stick to up the ante and engage with the action onstage. The time slot of the show didn’t really help – the audience were either too drunk or too tired to play their parts properly. The lighting and music were excellently placed, as were the dances that accompanied them in between the rounds, but it would have been nice to see more of an effort being put into the set. Three chairs were put centre stage for our contestants with a solitary mic on a stand being passed between them for their answers. It wouldn’t have been hard to put a desk with a table cloth and maybe some sparkly bits in front of them: I’m sure you’d been able to find some tinsel somewhere after the world has ended. The physical round was a bit of a let down,and you felt that they could maybe have taken more of an inspiration from the likes of the Generation Game with some sort of construction challenge, if public liability insurance allows it. There were some good nods towards the geek factor of a show like this, with a round made up of post-apocalypic film quotes, essential for the demographic of the audience. Though my team ended up dead (by choice – we didn’t want to join forces with the winners), there wasn’t enough of a sense of camaraderie for us to be bothered.
Do We Need You After the Apocalypse is only running for three nights and I expect it will get better with each outing. A lot of the rough edges felt like teething problems, and so much depends on the audience on each night. It is a light-hearted silly romp and a good alternative to the late night cabaret shows that normally fill the graveyard slot at the Fringe.