Above the Arts Theatre, London – until 29 October 2016
“We’re all fucked, so just enjoy the sea air”… Beach Comet have clearly found their niche in creating spoof B-movie musicals and so Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair now tracks the same path that its older sibling Vampire Hospital Waiting Room did last year, in following up a successful Edinburgh run with a short London residency at the Above the Arts Theatre. And just like its forerunner, it is hugely daft and hugely enjoyable – the perfect tonic as the nights close in and the clocks roll back.
The plot – insofar as such mundane things are relevant – involves the deranged Captain Bleufonde’s determination to resurrect his dead lover by steering his cruise ship into the eye of a devastating storm, plus cruise rep Hanks Leeroys’ struggles to abide by his rule to never fall in love with a passenger upon meeting nun Evie. But what makes Apocalypse Cruise Ship… really fly (or sail, whatever) is the sharpness of its comedy.
Theo McCabe and Steve Duffy’s book is magnificently resplendent – and relentless – in rapid-fire gags, stuffing this hour absolutely chockful of humour. From the wonderful silly accents to Beyoncé-inspired dance routines, visual gags (the ‘lock’ of Mandy’s hair is still making me giggle now) to cabin-fuls of frustrated sexual tension (including horny OAPs), the jokes come thick and fast in (tidal)wave after wave – it leaves you breathless at times.
McCabe’s score is pleasantly tuneful, with a couple of entirely hummable numbers in there, and is well-performed by the whole company. But it’s the comedy that sticks in the mind – Joe McArdle’s marvellously insane Captain, Craig Methven’s hilariously and variously accented Hanks, Roz Ford’s lascivious Vera… – get on board now with your puckered lips and take part in your very own Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair.