Where: Holden Street Theatres
When: until 15 March
It’s really a strange time to be going to a show about the apocalypse. It feels like we are getting ever closer to it, after a summer of fire and flood, and now disease spreading across the globe. But with an already heavy heart, I enter Victor’s bunker.
The apocalypse has come, but Victor Bravo is still alive. He remains underground in his bunker, eating onions and faithfully broadcasting his radio show, the Final Hours Hour. We join him in the bunker for a broadcast and over the course of the hour hear more about this world. The earth is inhospitable for most life, but onions are thriving so at least there’s always something to eat. Victor plays songs for an unknown audience, answers questions and takes callers. We are treated to an episode of ‘The Adventures of Onion Boy’. It’s a lonely life deep beneath the ground.
Written and performed by Ben Volchok (VIC), the Final Hours Hour grows in intensity over the course of the broadcast, the themes darkening and Victor’s situation appearing more dire. To begin with it seems as if the play could be condensed somewhat, but as we get towards the end Ben’s performance and the writing both get stronger. It becomes more contemplative for us, the invisible audience. Victor asks questions of the people he cannot see, who still have power to make change. Is it better to be angry without a target or complacent? What could we do now to change the future? Who do we owe it to? When do we get there?
The sound and set design are powerful. Sound is the stand out of the show, beginning with footsteps and clinking keys at the beginning and the whole way through the very well designed and executed radio broadcast. The set design itself is simple, apocalypse minimal, with a personal highlight of spotting the giant onion. It’s a shame that one of the most serious and intense moments in silence is interrupted by joyous samba music from next door, but Ben stays in control of the situation. If anything it jolts me back to the reality of our partying while the Earth slowly dies.
As the play draws to a close the reality of our global situation hits home as we watch Victor’s heightening desperation. After the horrors of this past summer, many of us are still putting our pieces back together. How long do we need to take action?
3½ out of 5 stars
— Natalie Carfora