Play features a look at the apocalypse - with belly laughs

Catherine Gillard and Nancy Walsh in the production. Photo by Marc Marnie
Catherine Gillard and Nancy Walsh in the production. Photo by Marc Marnie

FROM asteroid impact to zombie apocalypse, Rangarok to Rapture, tales of the end of the world are as old as civilization. But if the end of the world did come, we might as well go out laughing.

That in a nutshell is the premise of Apocalypse: A Glamorously Ugly Cabaret, which is coming to Cumbernauld Theatre.

The play, a collaboration between The Occasional Cabaret and Clancy Productions, sees Gdjet and Lulu, two characters strongly hinted to be either divine messengers or desperate con artists, present a cabaret while the world literally comes to an end. It’s a concept that, to anyone who has read Douglas Adams, carries a hint of the Restaurant at the End of the Universe from “Hitchhiker’s Guide to the Galaxy”.

We caught up with writer John Clancy, of New York-based, three-time Edinburgh Fringe First-winning Clancy Productions, to learn more.

“It seems we are on the verge of some major, seismic change in our society,” said John. “As an American, I can see the US empire is coming to an end and Western dominion over the planet is also ending.

“This show came about because I’d been talking to Peter Clerke, the director, about a show called Psychic Detective that he’d also done which covered a lot of common things.

“There was a lot on fundamentalism and prediction of the Rapture, the End of Days. A recent poll in America found that up to 40 per cent of respondents think this will happen in their lifetime.

“There is a definite sense that something fundamental to the order of things is ending and uncertainty over what happens next. I wanted to ask why we are so willing to accept this.”

If that sounds a bit heavy, rest assured that Apocalypse is first and foremost an entertainment.

“When it was first performed I was rather nervous as I was worried the comedy might not work, but we got belly laughs. A lot of that is down to our performers, they’re great” said John. An admirer of Bill Hicks, he too has been seeking to make people think and laugh at the same time.

“It’s our duty as artists. We aspire to create something that people want to come and see, that encourages them to think about themselves,” he said.

Apocalypse can be seen at Cumbernauld Theatre on Thursday, October 20. Call 01236 732887 to book.