Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair

Beach Comet have secured themselves as masters of a B-movie musical genre, inviting guests aboard a doomed cruise liner for a riotous hour of exaggerated figures and fantastically funny lyricism. Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair is exactly what it says on the tin: cramming melodrama, love and lust onto the entertainment deck of a ship bound for stormy seas and the potential end-times. A classic B-movie plot, really. It’s amazing to see what the cast and crew do with such a tall order, and boy do they deliver in ridiculous overacting and sheer enthusiasm.

A must for fans of bad movies and great comedic talent.

The cast is an incredibly strong and well-oiled machine, bringing charisma and chemistry to every interaction. The stand out performer has to be Joe McArdle as a delightfully deranged Captain. Haunted by the ghost of his lost love, his vows to be reunited with his wife threaten the lives of everybody aboard- which when contrasted with his eternal self-involvement is hilarious throughout. Fans of Beach Comet’s last show will recognise McArdle’s theatrics as a very similar Doctor in Vampire Hospital Waiting Room, but as the adage goes ‘if it ain’t broke, don’t fix it’. Seeing McArdle going wilder by each scene it’s clear that it certainly ain’t broke, and here’s an actor who revels in his melodramatic surroundings.

Some songs feel familiar to fans of Vampire Hospital as well – it’s hard to judge whether this is done in homage or runs the risk of sounding derivative. That said, the majority of musical numbers in the show feel fresh and, most importantly, really funny. A particular highlight is a song which injects some Rocky Horror sex appeal and hilarity, led by the supremely underrated Ros Ford (hidden under layers of expert make-up work- the look of Apocalypse Cruise Ship Love Affair is simplistic in set but doesn’t hold back on its performers’ costumes and aesthetics). The show’s conclusion feels a bit too soft compared to such a tumultuous build-up, but it neatly ties everything together nonetheless whilst hammering home the corny heart of Hollywood’s hammiest film offerings. It’s not perfect, but still is a must for fans of bad movies and great comedic talent.

Reviews by Louise Jones

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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Hot on the heels of smash-hit comedy B-musical Vampire Hospital Waiting Room ***** (ThreeWeeks), which garnered rave reviews and an off-West End transfer, Beach Comet debut their brand new comedy, featuring a live band, original songs and the end of the world. 'A feast of daft, dark comedy and brilliant songs' (Jo Brand).

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