One man, a deflating sofa bed and a severed head prop. One Man’s Apocalypse Now is actor Chris Davis’ love letter to the iconic war film which promises to re-enact the entire 153 minutes movie in only 50 minutes. Does he achieve it? Stop the clock, he actually does! Set in 1969 (although one character refers to a dream he had of Rhianna asking for a Mango cake...) the piece opens with a surrealist dance sequence followed by the actor mimicking, with varying levels of success, every famous actor from the movie including Martin Sheen, Harrison Ford, Laurence Fishbourne and Marlon Brando. A simple prop is used to differentiate each character, and one is kept firmly on their toes in keeping up during the actors rapid fire actions - this reviewer got the impression you weren’t really supposed to follow just what on earth was going on.
Chris Davis, an actor from the United States, throws himself at this piece of theatre as if performing to a Broadway audience. As described by a promoter of the show ‘Chris is a veteran (of Fringe Theatre). He tirelessly performs every single day’ and in the cold and dark room of the Apex Grassmarket Hotel, Davis’ dedication to each and every action truly prove the previous statement to be true. He transcends what could easily be a shallow and trivial performance to the poignant message about the effects of war on ordinary men. Chris gives such commitment and truth to both the silliness and pathos, that one forgets about the source material and begins to think of the comedy as a façade to a more dramatic climax.
Comedy, horror and drama beautifully culminate with a dramatic monologue in which the actor, eating through a mango and quoting TS Elliot, provides the audience with a relatable and gut wrenching moment of realisation that wanting to be a good person can sometimes mean having to be a bad person. Don’t be fooled by the marketing for this show. ONE-MAN APOCALYPSE NOW is the one of the most relevant theatrical experiences of the Fringe, beautifully crafted and adapted from a movie (that is loosely based on a book) that takes place during a war that no one wanted. It is superbly crafted, hilariously acted and strangely touching. You’d be a fool not to see this – even if only for the strip tease that had a man putting on a bra with more grace than I care to admit. - Ryan Laskey