Presented by Bravo Academy for the Performing Arts with Bain & Bernard
The Crack of Doom! (Or: How I Learned to Love the Meteor) is exactly my kind of well-crafted madness. This musical comedy about the final hour in the lives of some college students has the anarchic energy of an improv sketch. It’s as if random ideas were thrown to this team and they had to work them into the story live. Imagine that, but with actual dramatic structure, compelling characterization and no wasted business.
The premise is a suitably outlandish frame for wacky antics. A meteor is on its way to destroy life on earth, a mere hour away, and our ragtag group must not let it ruin their Thanksgiving Potluck. Mixer! Aren’t they the same? (It’s a whole thing.)
There’s dramatic irony and running gags and a screwball love pentagon! I’m not gonna give away what that is, though it figures into my favourite musical number. Wait, maybe second favourite? Because: Repent! Yeah, there’s a religious zealot up in the house! And she’s got a real banger!
Writers Suzy Wilde (music & lyrics) and Matt Bernard (book) pack an absurd amount of material into this one-act. Barely a second goes by without a clever bit revealing character and adding zany complication. Incredibly, all ten of these endearing goofballs are given room to breath.
Shout out to this feisty ensemble: Fae Alexander, Cade DeBorba, Rayhan Jabbar, Ben Kopp, Jawon Mapp, Daniel McCormack, Krizia Natale, Ben Page, Grace Rockett and Nicole Sherwin. Every last one of them offers a convincing portrait of quirky human lunacy.
In his direction, Bernard keeps the energy not just up, but dynamic. All elements are in perfect alignment. Snappy dialogue and tight blocking are punchy and purposeful.
Have I become a complete sap in my middle age? I got teary-eyed at some of the later beats. And not just the mournful parts! I found myself getting very emotional over just how delightfully sincere and well-executed this silly show is.