Arts Reviews

“Explores the End of the World Through the Intimate Lens of Human Emotion” – Theatre Review: The Canary’s Last Call @ Nottingham New Theatre

Emma Burnett

As the end of the world creeps closer and closer, humanity is put to the ultimate test. Only one radio station remains open for contact: a lifeline for the last people standing. The Canary is the final point of contact before the impending Armageddon. Emma Burnett reviews.

Written and directed by Jess Beadle-Platt, ‘The Canary’s Last Call’ is a contemporary take on the apocalyptic genre. The play explores the end of the world through the intimate lens of human emotion – and what a rollercoaster that is. Callers dial in to The Canary’s radio station, seeking one last conversation. Some need comforting, some need a space to vent, and some simply need something to take their mind off the horror of the situation. Whatever it is, The Canary is there at the other end of the line.

The library setting was utilized to its full potential

Sherwood Hall Library was an apt location for the performance, its eeriness setting the dystopian scene. The short but sweet play took full advantage of the nature of theatre, with the full hour taking place in what appears to be The Canary’s desk at his radio station. The library setting was utilized to its full potential; callers appeared on the balcony, separated from the radio station, seeming almost ethereal in their aloft positioning.

The amusing weirdness of the play, combined with its innate tragedy, creates this sense of mania

The audience are given little context for the apocalypse – we don’t see the world outside the radio station, nor do we know why the world is ending. This puts the audience in the frenzied position of the characters waiting for the impending end of their lives. The play communicates this frenzy through some simply bizarre scenes – such as when a couple call up to ask The Canary which ‘Doctor Who’ actor is ‘the hottest’. The amusing weirdness of the play, combined with its innate tragedy, creates this sense of mania which one can imagine would ensue at the hypothetical end of the world.

All actors made their scenes their own and captivated the audience

What also brought the dystopia to life was the incredible performances of the actors. We spent the most time with The Canary, played by Danté Sidhu, who guided us through the story with his inner monologue. His genuine vulnerability made his role as a confidant to callers pretty believable. All actors made their scenes their own and captivated the audience, but one really stood out. Robyn, played by Charlotte Kemp, brought the role of The Canary’s spouse to life. Her ability to seamlessly switch from one emotion to the next was simply admirable.

The Canary’s Last Call was a fun and fresh take on the dystopian apocalyptic genre. Focussing on human spirit and connection, rather than the details of the situation, the play offered a meaningful interpretation of the end of the world. Despite seeming slightly ‘thrown-together’, as a concept it certainly has the potential to become more refined and polished. With the refining of some cliches such as the ‘Die Happy’ motif, and perhaps a more hard-hitting ending, the play could be truly affecting. All things considered, one cannot underestimate the level of dedication and commitment required by Jess Beadle-Platt to write and direct this wonderful play whilst studying. The same goes for the producer of the play, Abigail Kitwood, and every single member of the team who worked on it.

Emma Burnett

Featured image courtesy of Alex Watkin. Permission to use granted to Impact. No changes were made to this image.

In-article image courtesy of @nottinghamnewtheatre via No changes were made to this image.

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