Onyx Theatre’s ‘Boom’ zooms in on Earth’s last two survivors, plus one

Jules (Shane Cullum), and Jo (Kirstin Maki) are almost the last two people on Earth in Boom.
Photo: Richard Brusky
Molly O'Donnell

The Details

Three stars
November 30 & December 1, 8 p.m., $15.
Onyx Theatre, 732-7225.

Do you ever feel like someone is watching you? Such paranoia would be warranted if Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s play Boom were a reality. The premise: Humanity’s time on Earth has come to an end, leaving only two mismatched opposites—Jules, a gay biologist and introvert (played by Shane Cullum), and Jo, a tough-talking journalism student with a knack for sensing danger (Kirstin Maki). This setup is framed by the zany and neurotic Barbara (Candi Elaine) who, unbeknownst to Jo and Jules, sits in a nearby control booth, observing and commenting to the audience.

By all accounts Boom would seem the perfect fit for the Onyx’s small digs. It takes place in one room and involves only three actors. But while Olde English Productions does an admirable job, the play feels a bit unsatisfying. The future where Barbara exists is made intentionally vague, leading the audience to believe she’s a scientist experimenting on Jo and Jules. It’s unexplained and unsatisfying, a half-idea that never takes us where we want it to.

Still, Cullum and Maki give convincing performances. Their chemistry is spot on (as in, their characters have none), and their professionalism is obvious. After a physical collision fulfills the audience’s desire to see the couple, well, couple, Maki comes away with an actual nosebleed, yet both actors flawlessly incorporate the accident into the action.

The cast and director Gus Langley have a lot to be proud of, but for the Onyx itself, going bigger might be better.


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