Killing Time

If the world was ending in an hour's time, what would you do? This is the central premise of this new play as two teenage boys sit and talk about everything and nothing while the last hour of existence ticks by. The more insecure of the two unnamed boys is played by Callum O'Dwyer. The childish carelessness he brings to the role is perfectly mixed with teenage angst, body issues, and hormones. Joe McArdle plays his seemingly more confident friend, full of bravado, but secretly as much at pains as his young companion. For an hour they sit and contemplate existence, friendship, and sex as the stars in the dimly lit background unassumingly diminish. We never find out what the forthcoming Armageddon is, or indeed why these two aren't at home with their parents, but the sense of impending doom is charmingly portrayed.

O'Dwyer and McArdle carry the show for its entirety, which is a tough task for any actors. This sometimes creates pacing issues, particularly given the subject matter - when you have two boys sitting and waiting, it can sometimes be a bit of a struggle to hold the audience’s attention. A brief and welcome interruption occurs midway through when an additional, unnamed girl appears. Seemingly lost in the midst of the impending doom, Amy Plender is utterly convincing, and her sobs are as heartfelt as her loss. By seeing Armageddon through the eyes of three very different children, the audience is forced to ponder some pretty hefty existential questions. On the whole, this is thought-provoking stuff for this time in the morning, as you begin to consider your own mortality and your own place in the universe... until another schoolboy knob-gag crops up to break the emotional tension, that is.

This is a poignant study in friendship and the blurring of the lines between adolescent kinship and sexual attraction. It shows us the bravado of youth, alongside its ultimate desperate insecurity. There are some genuinely tragic and touching moments (despite the University's best efforts to interrupt at every turn with the maintenance work they are carrying out on the exterior of the venue). What evolves is a well-balanced study in adolescence and a careful mix of comedy and tragedy. The central problem remains, however, that very little happens. This is a show about waiting… this is not a fast-paced action-packed hour. As such, I left the theatre with some questions to ponder and an admiration of the performance, but very little to draw me back. If you are free for an hour mid-morning, Killing Time is worth a look because it will help you do exactly what it says on the tin.

Since you’re here…

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You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
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Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
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The Blurb

Friendship. Futility. Foreskins. Two teenage boys find something to laugh about - and in case you’ve forgotten, there’s an impending Armageddon. It’s not all bad at the end of the world. A new comedy from the EUTC.

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