Review: Armageddapocalypse

The ADC’s fastest selling late show inspired varying degrees of praise, and The Tab’s longest ever review.

ADC Comedy explosion Theatre

CHLOE MASHITER is blown away…


An adaptation of Pride and Prejudice will only be a success if you include guns, ninjas and explosions and this show is fantastic. For those of you smart/lucky enough to have already got tickets, I’ll try not to spoil the gags, but I can say that there’s a genuinely unnerving yet hilarious version of The Riddler, an evil genius with a slightly-more-than-platonic love of explosions and maverick operative who has to juggle the difficulties of saving the world, being a father, and getting kicked in the balls.

Ben Ashenden and Jack Monaghan deserve a special mention, the former’s comic timing and mannerisms making a two-line role as an old man trying to buy greetings cards my favourite character in the entire show, whilst Monaghan skilfully juggles every cliché imaginable as the Agency boss.

In a show filled with excellently drawn stereotypes, slightly more comic mileage could have been gotten out of the sexy female sidekick – and there is a somewhat surreal game of poker that is dragged out a little too long – but this really is equivalent to pointing out a pimple on Robert Downey Jr’s face: overall it’s so good that something that small just doesn’t matter. The bottom line is, this show is a perfectly judged spoof with top-notch comic acting and, as one character puts it, ‘fuck off’ explosions. What more could you want?

KATY KING is pretty impressed but thinks you could want a little bit more…


Innovative, imaginative and mostly importantly: funny. Armageddapocalypse succeeds in showcasing some of Cambridge’s most promising acting, writing and directing talent.

Whilst Ashenden and Owen build on their Good Clean Men personas, Jack Monahan shines in a rare comedic role. It is unfortunate that the only female role is massacred by Máirín O’Hagan. Lacking the confidence and skill of her cast members, O’Hagan fails to find the funny in a script that is littered with comedy gems. Whilst Armageddapocalypse gets off to a strong start, it lags unforgivably towards the end. Although the show simply begs to be edited, the opening ten minutes alone are worth four pounds of your student loan.

Photos: Tim Johns –

ROB YOUNG can’t quite muster the same enthusiasm…


The team behind this week’s ADC Lateshow must have seen the recent Ben Stiller movie Tropic Thunder, as Armageddapocalypse 2: The Explosioning (catchy right?) begins with three piss-take trailers for future blockbusters. Coming never to a multiplex near you is a Billy Elliot style Northern drama about a lactose intolerant miner, a frat boy comedy about vomiting and penises, and a swashbuckling adventure about the history of the London sewer system, which for the purposes of bad punning we shall call Pirates of the Crappibean.

Unfortunately, and just like Tropic Thunder, nothing in the production really hits the comedic heights of the trailer introduction, and Armageddapocalypse 2 is full of expected titters instead of big, you could say explosive, belly laughs. The action movie pastiche is nothing new but when the Armageddapocalypse team find something original to mock the results are brilliant. The inclusion of three scientists who have the stupidity to question the bad guy’s plan is a fantastic twist on characters that usually just stand in the background, clipboard in hand, turning knobs arbitrarily. There are other flashes of genius, namely The Puzzler, the improbable love child of The Riddler and a Parisian transvestite, who gobbles up every scene he is in by spouting paradoxical nonsense like a comic book loony, sadly only gracing two scenes.

For every slow-motion two paces forward that Armageddapocalypse takes, it is blown back by the aftershock of its own struggling originality. Neither pauses from the action to hear interviews from the actors and director of the fake film nor the dodgy American accented, Ron Howard commentary are particularly funny. A few unfortunate technical problems in the piss-take (it’s not really a play is it?) made some scenes painstakingly boring while a Casino Royale parody about the impossibility of understanding poker
is completely misfiring and overlong. Ah, there’s a word. Overlong. Action films are meant to be zippy and exciting.  It’s a simple formula: when there are no guns, add boobies; when there are no boobies, add more boobies.  Play some N.E.R.D. during a scene at a lap dancing club and zoom in on some jiggling, preferably sweat-drenched mammaries… Right, I’m going off on one. Point is, for some reason the Armageddapocalypse ends more times than Lord of the Rings and is at least 15 minutes too long.

I hate myself for not liking it. Action spoofs are potentially hilarious, but Armageddapocalypse isn’t consistently good enough to keep me on the edge of my seat. This isn’t the fault of the cast, who are all excellent; there are just too many obvious jokes and pacing difficulties, making The Explosioning more of a wet fart than an earth-shattering eruption. Boom.