Help We Are Still Alive At Seven Dials Playhouse
Help We Are Still Alive is a musical set after the end of the world as we know it. The fog landed and thanks to the quick thinking of Finn, he not only saved his own life but also that of his partner Jass. We follow Finn and Jass in their life after the apocalypse along with flashbacks to their lead up to the fog. We discover more about their relationship including the fact that Jass is no longer in love with Finn, despite the fact that he may be the last man on earth.
The book itself by Imogen Palmer is an interesting one, despite the fact that they survived the end of the world, life after the apocalypse seems relatively simple; raiding supermarkets for tinned foods, living in a campervan and growing foods where possible. Their biggest decision is if they should travel to see if there are any other survivors. Despite the setting however the most interesting thing is the relationship between Jass and Finn both of whom are likeable characters. Finn played by Elijah Ferreira is clearly besotted with Jass, slight;y goofy and very earnest. Jass played by Jade Johnson on the other hand is self-depreciating and funny and together they make a charming couple and the audience quickly grow to like them both as individuals and as a couple. It is therefore difficult to decide how to feel about Finn’s heartbreak when it is Jass who is causing it.
Whilst talking about the book it was wonderful to see a play about a queer couple where the plot didn’t revolve around their queerness, they just were a queer couple. It would be wonderful to see more of that in theatre generally. The show itself also seems to have lots to say but many of these nuggets such as trans healthcare, veganism, mental health and climate change are hinted at but never developed further.
The chemistry between Ferreira and Johnson is vital to the success of the show and lucky they have it in abundance. They also both have brilliant comic timing and the ability to flick between these comedic moments to a more serious element of the show and take the audience on the journey with them and putting the audience at ease as they went.
The music by Tim Gilvin is quirky and full of character and comedy. Whilst there are no big 11 o’clock numbers this show doesn’t need it and instead we get a number about the wonders of Bedminster Asda, the Film Song in which they reenact some of their favourite movies and the heart-wrenching ‘The Letter’ as realisation begins to dawn on the audience. At times the quirky drove the music forward more than emotion and I would have liked one of two more emotion driven numbers to really help empathise with the characters or move me.
The space really suits the show, it is an intimate space and the audience encompasses the stage on 3 of the sides. With the show being a 2 hander you need to get the feeling from the show that all they have is each other and the intimate setting meant they really could not escape out of the others proximity.
Help We Are Still Alive is a quirky show with heart. With some slight finessing of the book and one or two of the quirky numbers replaced with a more emotive song then this show could be elevated from a quirky and enjoyable fringe show to a show that has a real chance of ongoing success.
Help We Are Still Alive is on at Seven Dials Playhouse until 15th October. You can find out more on their website.