BATS Theatre, Studio, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington

14/06/2022 - 18/06/2022

Production Details

Written, Performed and Produced by Ben Volchok
Directed by Sandy Whittem

Winner Hong Kong Tour Ready Award Adelaide Fringe 2020 


“Curl yourselves up with a nice warm mug of tea. If you don’t have tea, just a mug of hot water. If you don’t have heat, just a mug of water. If you don’t have water, just a mug. If you don’t have a mug, just your hopes and dreams will do. If you don’t have those… Anyway, here’s a song.”

“Absolutely stunning … Marvellous and powerful ★★★★★”  The Barefoot Review

The world has ended, and one lone soul surviving in a bunker broadcasts a radio show to anyone who might be listening across the very dead air.

The Final Hours Hour is a solo comedy play about loneliness, our dying planet, and the things we do to counteract them both. Also: onions.

Bleak and hopeful, dark and silly, a cry for help and a declaration of acceptance.

Ben Volchok is an award-winning writer and performer from Melbourne, Australia. For a decade he has been creating comedy that is existential, experimental and more than a little silly. The Final Hours Hour is his most recent live show.

BATS Theatre, the Studio, 1 Kent Tce, Wellington
14-18 June 2022 OR at the door 

Theatre ,

1 hr

Touches our humanity while critiquing human stupidity

Review by John Smythe 15th Jun 2022

In the two years since Melbourne-based Ben Volchok last did this show, the world has changed in ways that make it even more pertinent. And the fact that he brings it to Wellington in International Loneliness Awareness Week makes it even more poignant.

BATS’ tiny studio space features a cluttered radio studio that looks almost derelict. There’s a messy back wall with a door in it. A bath robe hangs on a hook. Stuff spills from boxes on shelves and the floor. From a plastic water tank on top of a cupboard, a tangled black hose snakes down into a bucket. As the houselights lights fade, we hear the unmistakeable tones of Louis Armstrong singing ‘What a Wonderful World’ until it stalls and stops.

The man who enters, wearing a gas mask and clad in a jumpsuit sealed at the wrists and ankles, carries a briefcase. It’s crammed with onions. Having got himself organised and into his bath robe and slippers, he settles at the microphone, flicks some switches and reveals he is Victor Bravo, host of The Final Hours Hour, broadcasting on Apocalypse FM.

What follows is a slow reveal in the format of a semi-talkback radio show. Victor’s soothing chat is laced with metaphysical musing; he reads messages from listeners, takes the odd call, adds brief news breaks, plays snippets of songs and music, and episodes of The Continuing Adventures of Onion Boy – a serial featuring a live cast in the studio. We know it’s Victor playing all the roles – which Volchok does superbly – and this leads us to question what else is ‘real’.

All theatre is ‘make believe’, that’s a given. But how much of what we each like to call reality in the real world is objectively real? From the personal experience of loneliness to the global – if not universal – potential for apocalypse, mere humans, just being, need to find ways to cope.

The onion motif reminds me of Ibsen’s Peer Gynt, where it’s a metaphor for a man of many veneers but nothing at the core. There are whiffs of The Goon Show and a nod to Beckett’s Krapp’s Last Tape, not least with the use of retro recording technology. But Ben Volchok’s The Final Hours Hour claims its own identity as an accessible work of existential absurdism that touches our humanity while critiquing human stupidity.

As for the water tank, hose and bucket – you have to see the show to understand its import and implications. The Final Hours Hour is only on this week and well worth catching.


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