Last night I was lucky to see the show The End by Please Like Me Productions at the Annex Theatre for the 2016 Toronto Fringe Festival. The End is a musical that takes place at the edge of the apocalypse. Director Heather Braaten combines tragedy and comedy, by showing two heroes can do nothing but sing into the apocalypse.
The End takes place in the United States in the year 2116. The country is run by the almighty president Storm, who remains in charge despite having been in a vegetative state for years. Unfortunately, the country is in a state of chaos, a virus is infecting the populace, there is not enough food and medicine for the average citizens. What makes matters worse, is that the apocalypse is set to happen.
A young woman named Bernie comes from a small town to the big city. Even in the face of an apocalypse, Bernie has dreams of being an actress and getting her big break. She meets Auggie, who gives her a place to stay in the city. What she doesn’t know is that Auggie is August Storm, a relative to the almighty ruler. Bernie tries to keep her dream alive and Auggie tries to keep his secret in the face of certain doom.
Miriam Drysdale plays both Bernie and Leslie Storm and she absolutely stole the show. She has a gorgeous voice, excellent comedic timing, and she transitioned into her characters with ease. As Leslie Storm, she was the British no-nonsense elitist, who looked as if she would shudder if she saw a member of the lower class. As Bernie, Drysdale did the perfect rendition of an overeager small town girl setting out for stardom.
Sam Roulston was good while playing Auggie but I thought he was a little too quiet when standing beside Drysdale.
It was possibly the commitment to a British accent that held him back because I (Editors Note: it was brought to our attention the actor is in fact British, so the speculation that it was the accent holding him back in this specific role was clearly misplaced. We have made the correction.) I was, however, pleasantly surprised to see his portrayal as Bernie’s Gran. He had much more energy and sass when he wore a housecoat and walked with a cane.
Haritha Popuri was excellent as The Voice. Popuri’s performance provided me so much enjoyment as she calmly explained the horrific conditions in the outside world, adding a positive spin about her Storm employers. Her professional and measured delivery of the worst news possible was my favourite bit in the show.
The show felt a little rushed and it left me with quite a lot of questions that were left unanswered. Why is the head of the United States’ family British? How could they even calculate the time of an apocalypse? These are questions that don’t matter in The End. The plot is ridiculous, the songs by composer Andrew Kalu are catchy, and the characters are fun! What with TV shows/movies like The Walking Dead and The Road, the apocalypse seems to take such gritty, grey and depressing tone. It’s great to see people take on heavy subject in a lighthearted way. It’s a nice way to enjoy Doomsday!
- The End plays at the Annex Theatre. (736 Bathurst St)
- Tickets are $12 at the door and in advance, and can be bought online, by telephone (416-966-1062), from the Fringe Club at Honest Ed’s Alley, and — if any remain — from the venue’s box office starting one hour before curtain. The festival also offers a range of money-saving passes for serious Fringers.
- Be aware that Fringe performances always start exactly on time, and that latecomers are never admitted.
- Content Warning: Mature Language.
- This venue is wheelchair-accessible provided you arrive early (at least ~20 minutes) and notify the House Manager you require an accessible route.
- Wednesday June 29th, 10:30 pm
- Friday July 1st, 08:15 pm
- Saturday July 2nd, 02:15 pm
- Tuesday July 5th, 12:30 pm
- Thursday July 7th, 11:00 pm
- Friday July 8th, 06:15 pm
- Sunday July 10th, 07:30 pm
Photo credit: Photo provided by company (Photo of Miriam Drysdale)