Ticketmaster Summer in Stages

Songs for the End of the World

Dom Coyote, Michael Vale and Tom Penn
Dom Coyote & the Bloodmoneys
Vault Festival

Billed as ‘gig theatre’, Songs For The End of The World affectionately sends up pop culture, '50s science fiction and comic book characters in a piece of carefully constructed chaos.

In Ashley-Coombe, everything seems safe and secure with residents under the supervision of New Global Inc. Other parts of the country are falling apart, forcing the free radicals to dream of a different world, but in Ashley-Coombe everything is orderly and calm.

Not content with this piece of New Albion, however, the owners of New Global Inc look to Mars for the future of housing and a whole new safe-zone. Jim Walters is dispatched in a rocket but gets stuck in Earth’s orbit when the apocalypse hits.

His songs (effortlessly performed by Dom Coyote) both playful and plaintive are accompanied by the songs of those still on earth.

Ranging from rock to haunting choral singing, the music is at the forefront of this production and the cast switch instruments and styles seamlessly. The vocal blending is a treat as is Daisy Palmer’s superb drum solo heralding the end of the world.

Using projected film and voice-overs, the audience witnesses New Global Inc marketing videos, an effective technique, which provides natural breaks in the music and sets an oddly familiar tone for the whole piece. The clipped tones suggest public information films from the '50s but the fact they are transmitted ‘telepathically’ places the show very much in the future.

Even taking into account the pastiche approach, the script, however, feels laboured, simply providing an excuse for an introduction to each song and the creation of such zany cameos does nothing to really further the plot.

Energetic and musically diverse, the gig element of the description definitely impresses but the theatrical backdrop seems unnecessary when treading such a typically dystopian path. This is almost a gem of a show and I desperately wanted to fall in love with it but for me the drama got in the way of the music which has a very clear narrative structure of its own.

Reviewer: Amy Yorston