According to Help! We Are Still Alive the apocalypse can be expected very soon… But what would you do if you didn’t want to be with the last person on earth?

Credit: Danny Kaan

Lu Herbert’s set consists of a raised platform, a shopping trolley, supermarket bags and torches hanging from the ceiling. Georgie Rankcom’s direction ensures that this space is used very well by the two actors.

In this production, Finn (Elijah Ferreira) and Jass (Jade Johnson) have survived the apocalypse. The catch is though that Jass was planning on breaking up with Finn, and Finn was proposing as the world ended. And now they’re stuck together, with their gecko Brian Eno and no one else.

Billing itself as gig style theatre, Ferreira expertly plays the acoustic guitar throughout the show. Set to a backdrop of recorded original music, both Ferreira and Johnson display great vocals throughout. However, for a show billing itself as gig style, I expected slightly more. I feel as though both actors should have been playing an instrument, and a range of instruments would have added variety to the performances which after a while unfortunately, began to feel slightly one note. I really wish they’d have leaned into the gig theatre genre more and layered the music to create a truly unique sound.

Imogen Palmer’s book is what lets the show down sadly. At times the dialogue felt awkward, and both characters were too nice (I know that’s a weird criticism), which meant that there was a lack of drama and deeper meaning within the production. Tim Gilvin’s songs are mostly good, but there is a lack of variety, as two songs are reprised again which feels unnecessary and slightly repetitive.

I also found the show lacked depth, with most of the narrative surrounding whether Jass and Finn should make the trip to Scotland in the hope there will be other survivors there. The story is clearly set in Bristol, which is evident from the song about Bedminster ASDA (as someone that used to live there, I can confirm it really is a great supermarket). We never really dug very deep into these two characters, and the show doesn’t ever explain what the world is like post-apocalypse – except mentioning that there is no electricity.

Despite these shortcomings, I cannot fault the cast at all. Ferreira and Johnson give stellar performances and ooze likeability and charisma. They display some beautiful vocals, and their harmonies are wonderful.

At the heart of Help! We Are Still Alive is a queer relationship, displaying a trans person and touching upon the inequality in a trans person’s access to healthcare. In this respect, the show is essential to raise awareness of a community that doesn’t make it to the main stage very often. There is something great here and with some refinement and changes, I’m sure this can be a beautiful piece of theatre. I’m excited to see how Help! We Are Still Alive evolves and what’s next for the show.

Rating: 3 out of 5.

{🎟 AD – PR invite – Tickets were gifted in exchange for an honest review}

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