Review: 1000 Ways The World Will End (& How It Starts Again), King’s Head Theatre

A neat bit of lesbian sci-fi, 1000 Ways The World Will End (& How It Starts Again) asks some big questions at the King’s Head Theatre

“I believe that people like us find our way back to the ones we need to”

Headlining David Cumming’s Queer Futures Season at the King’s Head Theatre, Alice Flynn’s 1000 Ways The World Will End (& How It Starts Again) poses some big questions about lesbian survival skills, the cyclical nature of the patterns of our relationships and how ideas of the apocalypse never seem to go out of fashion despite it never, you know, happening. These she explores by following three couples – or is it one… – straddling millennia yet all facing the same fears.

Yrsa and Astrid are in 934, working our their issues after Yrsa disappears from their Viking village. Ursula and Aster are in 1780, dealing with the ‘witchcraft’ of their desire. And Sula and Astra are in 2025, fulfilling the former’s Doomsday prepping desires, even though she’s forgotten to pack any food. Running from Ragnarök, the Rapture or solar flares, each couple also has more personal issues to worry about – will they have enough time to fix things before time runs out?

Alice Robb’s production does a decent job of keeping things light among all the doom-mongering and as we skip around the different time periods, there’s something poignant about the declaration that queer women have endured, do endure and will continue to endure in the face of whatever society throws at them, from the patriarchy, power and privilege imbalances and petty homophobia. There’s also humour in there, which could be amped up even more at the expense of some of the polemic.

Kalifa Taylor as Astrid, Aster, and Astra, always on the more confident side of things and sharper with the comedy. Phoebe Cresswell’s Ysra, Ursula, and Sula are anchored in something perhaps more relatable, the worriers who are a little less assured and thus the ones we’re drawn to, even as these relationships threaten to implode. A touch overlong in the final analysis, or maybe it was just the late start time, a strong start for this season.

Running time: 75 minutes (without interval)
1000 Ways The World Will End (& How It Starts Again) is booking at King’s Head Theatre until 12th August

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