Armageddapocalypse 2.5: Armagedinburgh

First comedy, then the world. PHIL LIEBMAN cackles maniacally as he blows this volatile action-film pastiche apart (in a good way, obviously).

Armageddapocalypse 2.5 Edinburgh Preview James Moran Lucien Young Pastiche Tamara Astor

ADC Theatre, 15th-18th June, 11pm, £4-6

Directed by Alexander Winterbotham


Silly, loud and jaw-achingly funny, Armageddapocalypse 2.5: Armagedinburgh lived up to its promise of brash comedy, low production values and full compliance with health and safety regulations.

Having lived the life of a theatrical hermit in Lent 2010 I didn’t see the original. However, boasting 3, 4 and 5 stars from this very publication, 2.5 had a lot to live up to. This revamped, re-written re-run is also set for the Edinburgh Fringe. Expectations were high.

The show started (about 5 minutes early) with a hit-and-miss mock behind-the-scenes video. Amongst other celebrity spoofs this introduced the character of Zack-Jack Jackson, the coked-up director who made occasional appearances in the form of DVD commentary throughout the play.

For me these sections didn’t really fit in with the rest of the script and mainly served to slow down the laughs. The whole mockumentary genre is starting to become as clichéd as the action genre Armageddathingybob was written to exploit.

However, the rest of the show was spot on in its wide-ranging lampoon of an impressive array of films; from classic James Bond elements to the inescapable piss take of Twilight. There was even a nerdy Tarantino reference which made this nerdy Tarantino fan feel an overwhelming sense of self-importance, knowing I was undoubtedly better than all the non-nerdy non-Tarantino fans watching.

Unsurprisingly given the cast’s credentials the comic acting was faultless, particularly Lucien Young’s pastiche of the eye-patch toting, explosion-fetishing evil genius Dr Apocalypse. Though the jokes were sometimes predictable, a blend of surreal situations and well crafted dialogue made this well trodden character feel fresh.

Similarly James Moran was excelled as Jack Lang, the comic action hero he seemed born to play. Supporting characters such as the intelligence chief also got their share of good lines, which Joe Bannister and Johan Munir didn’t waste.

I do think that more could have been made of the female love interest, although Tamara Astor did well with what she had to work with. I also wish there had been greater use of the shadow puppets. These sequences were some of my favourites and really helped separate this production from the crowd.

Opening night did bring a few technical hitches. The introductory video started at 10:55, too early to be part of the production for many people who came in right in the middle, and too late to be something entertaining in the background as everyone arrived.

There were also other little problems such as a well-handled instance of the lights not coming up. I expect that they will be ironed out for the rest of the run and that the production will be shiny and sleek by the time it hits the mean streets of Scotland.

This production was not without its faults, and I think we could have done without the whole recurring director side story. However, the throb in my jaw as I left the ADC told the true story that Armageddawhasitcalled was a delightfully light-hearted, well-scripted and cleverly-acted piece of comedy that I’m sure to be quoting until all my friends stop talking to me.