Edinburgh Fringe 2012
Two teenage boys use their last hour to talk about everything from sexual experience to families and friendship. This dark theme is beautifully played out in real time, the hour left before the universe collapses, but has a surprising number of lighter moments, and the contrast of the boys’ attitude to what is coming and their ways of dealing with their fate are thought provoking and touching.
What would you do if you knew (not just thought) you and the universe had only one hour left? This was the premise for Killing Time, a moving, thought provoking and sometimes funny play. where two university friends for an hour of real time wait with one another for Armageddon. The decision to wait there, not with their families, and all the other tiny decisions – whether to reveal themselves and even their bodies to one another before the end, whether to touch, whether their friendship is something more physical, whether to ask very personal questions, and how to answer them, show how many serious decisions about how we conduct ourselves are made every hour of our lives, and how hard they are especially for young, insecure people.
Callum O’Dwyer and Joe McArdie as the two lads reflect every thought and nuance of the situation. The play emphasizes the different ways the boys have dealt with their terrible, overwhelming situation as they banter or talk in bursts of their fears,their relatives, their experience – and their penis size! All the time there is an avoidance of looking deeper into their friendship, and what are the implications of the increasing desire to touch – and fear of touching – Is it just for basic human comfort?
The arrival of a third person, a deeply distressed young girl (a lovely performance from Amy Plender) who interrupts their mutual absorption, emphasizes their differences in approach to others, and how one can still influence the other. The play develops slowly (the continual “How long now” sometimes makes it feel a long hour). and sometimes I felt it needed a change of rhythm, an urgent passenge showing the need to confide before it was too late. But apart from this, the three actors were excellent, and were well served by the set, a stone-like platform with different levels representing a hill overlooking a large city (Lillis Meeh) and Will Naameh and writer Andrew Edwards handled the end beautifully – we were glad the two lads faced it together – and the final moment was subtle and effective.