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Taking sci-fi off the big screen or the written page and putting it on the stage is never going to be an easy transition, especially if you want to explore an apocalyptic or post-apocalyptic scenario. Top Story, written by Sebastian Michael, tackles this pre-apocalyptic story by setting it in the living room of one of our two hapless heroes, Gus (Lewis Goody) and Talfryn (Ed Pinker). Thankfully they aren't as thick as Bill and Ted, but they aren't nearly as adventurous either.
When the gorgeous news reader Chrissie Craven (Josephine Kime) announces that a meteor the size of LA is about to hit LA, bringing about the end of the world as we know it in exactly seven days, Gus and Talfryn do what any self-respecting slacker would do, they ran out and grab as much beer and snacks as they could find to see them through to end of the world and spend the rest of their time on the sofa trying to come up with ideas for a lasting legacy (re-inventing the rules of chess) and a possible way to save the world, while watching Chrissie bring updates on the TV.
Although it is billed as an apocalyptic [slacker] comedy, and there are plenty of laughs, this play has a lot more substance as two angels discuss life, the universe and everything, not in any frivolous way but in truly profound philosophical and metaphysical discourses that will leave you contemplating the cosmos long after the jokes have been forgotten.
Having just missed the Maya apocalypse, it is a fitting time for this play to be showing, but will our heroes be as lucky?
The two leads are perfectly cast and garner identifiable empathy and sympathy from the audience, while Josephine Kime adds a real touch of glamour. The Old Vic Tunnels are the perfect setting as you feel you are in an apocalyptic scenario (admittedly a very hip one), with its musty subterranean bunkers and mismatched seating, and the constant rumbling of trains overhead that further add to a sense of impending doom. And yes, the play passes the bike test.*
If you want to see a smart, funny script with actors in real 3D then forget going to the cinema and get along to Top Story before it ends. The play runs from now until 2 February. We have three pairs of tickets to give away for performances between 12 and 26 January (excl Sundays). Click on the link below to enter the competition.
Find out more about the play and to book tickets visit www.topstoryplay.com
* The bike test arose from SFL director Louis Savy asking why no one ever uses bicycles as transport in post-apocalyptic stories.
Photos: Foteini Christofilopoulou