Lists for the End of the World

3 actors. 300 participants. Lists for the End of the World is the result of massive crowdsourcing, a recanting of the replies people would give from their most sombre aspirations (‘Things I want to do before I die’) to the simplest (‘Things I never get around to doing’).

With a format that simply consists of listing of items and activities, Lists has a very real chance of becoming monotonous. This never happens, thanks to the well-paced, multimedia format of the show. Eerily listing childhood fears by torchlight, and singing a certain list to Nirvana’s Smells Like Teen Spirit shows the singular creativity of this production. Yet it is the quality of the acting that makes Lists truly engaging. A brilliant mix of humour and vulnerability gives effortless empathy to every answer. Each response feels utterly human, and has equal chance to make the audience laugh and cry.

The clever interweaving of the funniest moments with the most poignant ones takes the audience on an emotional rollercoaster. Sometimes the most powerful items on lists are lost amid others, depriving the audience of a hard-hitting moment. This ensures the play never gets depressing, but it would have been interesting to see more time spent on the most heart-wrenching moments. It is interesting to see the actors weave lists from the audience into the play. However, the slightly manic and rushed feel to this section makes it one of the least impactful parts of the play. This is partly just due to how meticulously well thought out the rest of the performance is.

Lists provides an outlet for saying things most people would be too uncomfortable to admit in public. It allows potentially embarassing admissions to be heard anonymously. The fact Lists is such a clever concept is clear from the unity of the audience reaction to each list. For anyone needing confirmation that humanity has more commonalities than divisions, Lists is a wonderfully relatable show.

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Jonathan Barnett

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