Lockdown review: Until the Ad Break

It seems to be the season for the apocalypse, with this being the second piece on the topic I’ve reviewed in this year’s Edinburgh Fringe.

Following the eight short pieces which comprised Like No Tomorrow at the TSS Virtual Fringe, we now find a piece from Maverick Charles Productions, online at The Space UK.

Dale (Bradley Pascall) and Francine (Ellie Stewart-Dodd) present The Hello Show, a daytime magazine that presents news, weather and special interest items. A kind of This Morning, but with more of an edge. It’s a kind of upbeat show, but today is the “End of the World” special.

Slowly the masks slip we join in the presenters’ chat when the cameras are off. Gabriel the weatherman (Emily Fitzpatrick) cheerily posits the forecast “we’ll all be dead, anyway”, then tries to stoke half-hearted revolution.

Under the Ad Break logo

Until the Ad Break has some excellent ideas: the Murder Hornet (Hugo Lewkowicz) leading the Four Horsemen is endearingly pathetic, while Francine’s oversharing meltdown offers a few wry smiles.

Older viewers of a certain vintage may well remember Nationwide, where bizarre items made it on to the screen from around the country. The items we never see on The Hello Show are of the same ilk.

How would be all behave at the imminent end of the world? Unlikely we’d want to die alongside our work colleagues, but very likely that like the viewers shown here, we’d don a mask or balaclava and wait for instructions from the gogglebox.

This piece has some zinging one liners – who ever considered the significance of a Volvo? – and a mounting hysteria which takes a while to build, then (rightly) ends abruptly. The producer (Haris Nabi), like all good backroom professionals, is the calmest, and I wanted more cuts to his reaction.

You can catch Until the Ad Break at Online@theSpace until the end of August. It is a reimagined scene from the company’s 2018 show, 21 Minutes, created and filmed during lockdown.

What do you think?

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