🎭 End of the World FM
📍 The Space, 269 Westferry Road, London, E14 3RS
🗓 Tuesday 25th July 2023
A DESCENT INTO MADNESS!
Last night I was invited by Kevin Martin Murphy to review his one-man show End of the World FM, which is playing this week at The Space.
Best described as a dark comedy, End of the World FM follows the story of one man, The Host, who is trying to keep his radio show going during an apocalypse! He finds that the end of the world isn't quite as quick as we might think or hope it would be.
Murphy enters through the audience and explodes onto the stage and straight away we're treated to the ramblings of a madman! It's year 1 of the apocalypse and already we see the toll that it's having on his mental state. There are so many questions that I had as an audience member at this point. What had happened to cause the end of the world? How had he survived? Is there anyone even listening to his broadcast? Is he actually broadcasting or not? These questions were never really answered, but actually that didn't matter!
The story progresses in 5 year chunks and I was worried that Murphy had started with too strong a character and that we wouldn't see The Host develop. I was wrong however because while he kept his energetic eccentricities throughout, what grew was his pain, loneliness and sadness.
We witness him interview different imaginary special guests and there was a powerful moment where he interviewed himself in a mirror. There was also a hilarious interaction with a stuffed animal Mary the Contrary Canary, where the entire interaction played out in rhyme!
Murphy has a knack for voices and accents and we see this talent used to great effect throughout the play. I particularly liked his take on a US President!
Once the story gets to year 10, you start hear a real pain in his voice which is sublimely acted. Lines such as "I need you dear listeners" and "I want to know if I exist in this world" are heartbreaking. The way Murphy held the audience in moments of silence is to be applauded.
We follow The Host as his mental health spirals and he flips from melancholy to frantic and back again. The ending of the story feels very poignant and the whole piece is like a comment on the destructive nature of humanity.
A thought I had early on while watching this was that this story could easily be an episode of the Netflix show Black Mirror. It fits so well into the genre and themes of the programme. Maybe Murphy should approach them with the script?
By the end of the piece I had some new questions. The main one was whether or not there was even an apocalypse happening or if this was all in his mind and we were watching events pan out inside his padded cell?
One of the best things about theatre is that it's subjective and good theatre will create conversations and that's exactly what this play does. I would actually be intrigued to watch the piece again and see what my feelings were after a second viewing.
End of the World FM is playing at The Space until Saturday. It will then be at The Cockpit as part of Camden Fringe on the 7th and 8th of August. Head to linktr.ee/endoftheworldfm for information and to book tickets.
All views are my own and I pride myself on being open and honest.
My ticket for this performance was gifted by Kevin Martin Murphy who invited me to watch the show and to give my honest review. The fact that my ticket was gifted played no part in the star rating given or the content of my review.