City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

City Guide to Edinburgh, Scotland

Not the End of the World, New Town Theatre, Review

By Gordon Clayton - Posted on 10 August 2015

Not the End of the World show
Show details
Freemasons Hall
Youth Music Theatre UK
Running time: 
Based on the novel by Geraldine McCaughrean, Charlotte Conquest (director, writer), Sonum Batra (composer), David Francis (Lyrics), Stuart Winter (choreographer), Ryan Dawson-Laight (design), Matt Eaton (sound), Joe Stathers (lighting)

This is a stunning, atmospheric piece of theatre that holds you for the entire 90 minutes.

Expectations are always high of the youth Music Theatre UK and this production lives up to those expectations.

The story is based on Geraldine McCaughreans’s Whitbread Award-winning epic which itself is based on the biblical story of Noah and the Ark.

Having not seen last year’s film ‘Noah’ but read some of the criticism of the Russell Crowe blockbuster I am not sure that the character gets a very good press either in this adaption of the biblical story. It is very dark with the name of God being used to abandon everyone bar his family, enter his son of twelve into a forced marriage and, when he finds other survivors, try to kill off the ‘sinners’. His eldest sons are not saints with one of them prone to hitting women at will.

The women folk in general get listened to less than the animals on board and Noah’s unmarried daughter is believed to see and hear demons because she questions her father’s decisions based on what he believes God tells him to do.

In a way it is a very anti-religious piece as the slavish belief in God’s work and the casting aside of others who have alternative views has chilling resonance throughout history and in these current times.

As a production it makes compelling viewing with creative direction and slick choreography. This is a top class piece of theatre with the young people superbly drilled in their moves.

The use of plastic sheets to create the flood is excellent and the flight of the birds credible despite the obvious limitations of the stage.

The pace of the show is good with the speed that the ensemble covers the stage impressive. Usually there is some flaw in any show but the singing was good and some of the songs were memorable: ‘Father knows best’ is a good example. If there is a flaw it is that it is all very serious and there is no room for light.

This is a show that leaves an impression.

Runs til 16 Aug, 3pm