As if events in the real world didn’t feel apocalyptic enough at the moment, this immersive theatre experience from the Manchester-based Box of Tricks places the audience among a group of pub regulars defiantly continuing with their quiz night in the face of the earth’s imminent destruction by an unstoppable meteor.
It’s a strong premise and Hannah Tyrrell-Pinder’s production effectively threads the rounds of a real pub quiz into the ensuing action. Katie Scott’s bar-room set also convincingly conjures up the kind of homely pub punters would flock to when facing the end of the world.
But the drama unfolding around it, as the plucky staff are confronted and interrupted by faces from their past, is too unsubstantial to be fully convincing and the soap-like storylines in Alison Carr’s script seem like small beer compared with what everyone on the planet is facing. Critically, what might work better as a fast and fun one-acter feels stretched out to a momentum-zapping 120-minute running time.
But this is despite the best efforts of a spirited cast, which copes admirably as the audience chatter among themselves when the answers to the questions occasionally prove more diverting than the actual plot. Meriel Scholfield, in particular, holds things together as Kathy, the landlady who “came out of the womb pulling a pint” and can’t imagine being anywhere else for her final hours. Amy Drake also does a convincing job of portraying the mortifying embarrassment of a woman who is rejected after declaring her undying love for the quiz master in front of a roomful of strangers.