Theatre Passe Muarille’s Mainspace swells with positive vibes from a full house. A musical about an apocalypse driving the world to bloody crimes and deep depression draws out all of your emotions. It keeps us feeling alive. Directed by Esther Jun, And Now, The End follows four stories of friends and lovers dealing with their impending death, but it’s not all sad.
From the dramatic to the hilarious, the ensemble cast gives a stellar performance, not missing a beat. Radio show hosts, Dan (Paolo Santalucia) and Scott (Jeff Yung) stand out with their charm and commitment. Whether they bring the audience to tears of laughter or tears of agony, the musical numbers, accompanied by a live band, strike a chord with the audience.
In just over an hour, the stories, although they don’t intertwine, feel complete. Jun connects the stories intelligently and repeats stage pictures, so that scenes echo one another. In fact, Jun holds a mirror at the play’s end to figuratively mirror its beginning, showing stark white walls stretching around a stretcher (thanks to set designer Beth Kates). As the show opens, Doctor (Amir Haidar) performs an assisted suicide, but as it closes, he helps deliver a baby on that same stretcher.
In addition, the moveable walls offer a number of spaces where the characters play out their stories on matching white furniture. To begin, the stories appear one at a time, but throughout the show, characters share the stage. Single stories become a collection, like a collage.
This musical is well-rounded and clever. A must-see. I’d see it twice.
Written by Victoria Houser, Emily Nixon, Drew O’Hara, Zach Parkhurst, Jake Vanderham
Music and Lyrics by Jake Vanderham
See And Now, The End at Theatre Passe Muarille’s Mainspace until August 17th. For more information and tickets, visit http://summerworks.ca/2014/tevent/now-end-7/.