And Now, The End (ANTE up Productions) 2014 SummerWorks Review

And Now, The End

And Now, The End, presented by ANTE up Productions, opened on Thursday as part of this year’s SummerWorks Festival. This new musical has a powerhouse cast and is worth adding to your list of must-see shows during SummerWorks. If the opening night audience was any indication, the show is going to sell well, and it’s definitely going to get people talking.

The show follows eight characters living on an earth that is going to be wiped out by an asteroid in the near future. Throughout the show, they all try to process the impending end of the world in different ways, desperately trying to make sense of their last months, weeks and days on a planet where life as they knew it has changed. The knowledge that the world is coming to an end alters their relationships in ways none of them ever expected, and there are a few incredibly heartfelt moments scattered in between some very dark and some very funny ones.

The cast is filled with incredibly talented performers, and there are several strong voices among them. Though some of the lyrics are predictable and perhaps a bit simple, a few of the songs are great, and will no doubt start appearing in audition rooms and at cabarets around the city in months to come. “Please Listen To Our Show”, performed by local radio personalities Dan (Paolo Santalucia) and Scott (Jeff Yung) was my favourite number, and will likely be in my head for days (which is not a bad thing).

“Kiss Me”, sung by Kaleigh Gorka and Amir Haidar, is one of the prettiest duets I’ve heard in a long time. I couldn’t help but be drawn in by the palpable, nervous, lovely energy between the two of them in the scene surrounding the song. Their storyline was the one that felt the strongest to me.

Some of the script could use some tightening, and as a friend of mine pointed out, it was often evident that the show has multiple authors. The storylines don’t ever fully connect, though the different rooms each story takes place in do get closer onstage throughout the show, which was a neat way of representing – I felt – the world getting smaller and smaller.

SummerWorks seems to me the perfect platform for a show of this type, as it gives the cast a chance to present and perfect the piece, to ‘workshop’ it and to figure out what works and what needs a bit of polishing. This show is absolutely worth seeing. To paraphrase the standout radio personalities mentioned earlier, I “really think it doesn’t blow”. In fact, it’s a great addition to the SummerWorks lineup and will make audience members think, feel, laugh, question and want to talk. And in my mind, that’s exactly what any good show should hope to do.

Details:

And Now, The End plays at Theatre Passe Muraille Mainspace (16 Ryerson Avenue)

Show Times:

Saturday August 9, 5:00pm
Monday August 11, 4:30pm
Wednesday August 13, 9:30pm
Friday August 15, 7:00pm
Saturday August 16, 10:00pm
Sunday August 17, 5:00pm

All individual SummerWorks tickets are $15 at the door (cash only). Tickets are available online at http://summerworks.ca, by phone by calling the Ticketwise Call Centre at 416-907-0468, in person at the SummerWorks Info Booth – located at The Theatre Centre (1115 Queen Street West) August 5th-17th from 10AM – 7PM (Advance tickets are $15 + service fee)

Several money-saving passes are available if you plan to see at least 3 shows

Photo of Ruth Goodwin by David Leyes