Assuming the Mayans had it right, we’ve got just more than three weeks before the end of the world as we know it. What better time than this weekend, then, to grab a date, a friend, or a casual Craigslist hookup and head to Onyx Theatre for Olde English Productions’ performance of Boom — a postapocalyptic comedy that offers some pretty useful tips to those formulating a survival plan. Well, kind of. For starters, if you’re a gay marine biologist looking to repopulate the world with a stranger found on Craigslist (through an ad promising an “intensely significant coupling”), you might want to vet her beforehand to see if she’s game, especially if the process involves turkey basters or syringe injections. And a good rule of thumb for straight women trolling for casual sex on the Internet? Steer clear of guys inviting you to an underground lab heavily stocked with bourbon, tampons, diapers and teen mag cut-outs of Jake Gyllenhaal. As the play’s story goes, skittish marine biologist Jules (Shane Cullum), through his careful observation of the sleeping patterns of marine life, has discovered a devastating comet hurdling toward Earth — and he’s made it his life goal to save the human race.
There’s a reason Cullum continues to make waves in the Vegas theater scene — he doesn’t just effortlessly deliver the play’s heavily detailed and often deadpan dialogue, he crawls way up in there and acts from within Jules’ uncomfortable skin, nailing the nuance and dark comedy crucial to the role. Kristin Maki is equally believable as journalist Jo, pissed off at being held captive as an unwilling Eve to Jules’ Adam in this bizarre creation story, which is narrated by Barbara (Candi Elaine), in a truly clever twist I’ll leave a mystery (because you really should go see the play). San Francisco playwright Peter Sinn Nachtrieb’s inventive script, born of the writer’s own theater and biology background, is the other star here. Filled with sharp observations and wickedly funny off-handed details, it’s the kind of dialogue that, if delivered on TV, you’d be forced to rewind and rewatch — making it a formidable challenge to perform live. Under Gus Langley’s direction, this trio nails it. And with the entire play clocking in at 90 intermission-free minutes, it won’t require too much of the precious time left before your Dec. 21 expiration date.
Should we make it to next year, however, I’d like to suggest to Vegas theatergoers to include small theatres in future Small Business Saturday expenditures. Productions like this deserve a larger audience.
Boom Thursday-Saturday through Dec. 1, 8 p.m.; Onyx Theatre, 953-16B E. Sahara Ave., www.onyxtheatre.com, $15