Theatre preview: Apocalypse: A Glamorously Ugly Cabaret @ Traverse, Edinburgh

Published by METRO

Sorry to bring the tone down, but the world is going to end. One day. The world is going to end one day, is what I should have said.

Anyway, the point I’m trying to make is that, from the strange-looking old men holding ‘The End is Nigh’ placards on busy Saturday streets to the good-looking young men trying to save the world in Hollywood blockbusters, the world is obsessed with its own demise.

However, while so many have embraced the entertainment factor behind our paranoia, the theatre has by and large kept its hands over its ears. Until now, that is, when what has trickled through from the mainstream on to the cabaret stage is a predictably warped and chaotic affair.

Armed with warnings of the imminent rapture, Gdjet and Lulu emerge from the gutters and swamps of society to invite us along for humanity’s last night on earth. Our hosts navigate us around times past and present to inform us of the apocalypse, claiming they possess knowledge above our own comprehension. But is their talk to be believed, or are they just another couple of charlatans playing another con?

This question is posed by new Scottish theatre company Occasional Cabaret, recently established by former Benchtours artistic directors Catherine Gillard and Peter Clerke.

‘In amongst all the apocalyptic talk – from the Mayans to Harold Camping, from global economic meltdown to environmental collapse – this is just our take on it all; cabaret style,’ Clerke said of the piece.

Apocalypse was written by New York City’s Off-Off-Broadway supremo John Clancy, whose triple-Edinburgh Festival Fringe First award-winning Clancy Productions will be joining Occasional Cabaret in taking the work on a Scottish tour.

Indeed, the end of the world sounds like the perfect occasion for a piece of really dark comedy cabaret, and as the show so brilliantly interweaves its plot around satire and song, there could be worst places to be should Gdjet and Lulu’s predictions materialise.

Actually, what am I saying? If I was forewarned of such a scenario, which would have to be supported by the scientists and politicians of the world for me to believe it, I’d swill a bottle or two of red wine, gorge on a few hundred grams of strong cheese, and probably have a little think.

The world will not really be ending after any one of Apocalypse’s three dates at the Traverse. But as for the performance in Glenrothes, which coincidentally falls on the same date the aforementioned US evangelist Harold Camping predicted the rapture, I really wouldn’t like to make any promises.

You’ll be alright in Edinburgh, though, so you should head to this performance while you’ve still the time.