Somehow they survived. Jass and Finn might just be the last two people on the planet following an apocalyptic event that saw the world as they know it crumble away. Surviving on a diminishing supply of tinned goods from Sainsburys they have made it this far but the strain is showing in their relationship. Can you really break up with the last person alive?
Help! We Are Still Alive charts Jass and Finn’s relationship from their chance meeting working in wedding hospitality through to their survival and current unfortunate predicament. Much of the show is delivered through song, often led by actor-musician Elijah Ferreira with guitar in hand. The musical elements are where this production is at its best. Jade Johnson and Ferreira both have strong and accurate vocals that seamlessly blend when called upon. Their character work when singing is a particular highlight as they serve up charm, humour and vulnerability such as in the songs “The Last Two”, “Film Song” and my personal favourite a song honouring “Bedminster Asda”.
Johnson and Ferreira are well cast and work hard during the 80-minute runtime, always pushing the jokes forward and creating likeable characters. Much of the script is delivered directly to the audience and they do well to engage with those watching but often the script lets them down when dialogue is involved - quips feel forced and the characters begin to feel less authentic. Sadly the plot wears thin a little too quickly and the piece stagnates - although the musical numbers drag it onwards. Despite the challenges, Johnson and Ferreira find much-needed heart as Jass and Finn and their performances should be commended. There is some nice set and lighting design throughout (love the use of the hanging torches) and strong direction from Georgie Rankcom who has used the space well despite the limited size.
There is real potential and positive choices peppered throughout this production but the underlying material fails to take shape. Two excellent performances and endearing music take it as far as it can in this current form but future redevelopment is needed to take it to the next stage.
It runs until 15 October.
Review: Henry Longstaff Photo: Danny Kaan