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3 Billion Seconds – The Vaults

The next stop for this theatre blog takes me underground to a cavernous theatre space beneath Waterloo Station.

The 3 Billion Seconds in the title of Maud Dromgoole’s wonderfully dark but funny play refer to the estimated lifespan of a baby born in the present day.

“We are a plague on Earth!” population activists Daisy (Rhiannon Neads) and Michael (Tayla Kovacevic Ebong) inform us in the opening line, as trains rumble ominously overhead.

Over the next hour we become intimately acquainted with this likeable (and occasionally irritating) couple who spout copious stats about how humans are wrecking the planet and go into great detail about growing their own veg.

What they don’t want is a baby to make things worse for the world. So you can guess what happens when Daisy gets pregnant.

Actually, you can’t. Because what’s brilliant about Dromgoole’s play is how cleverly she moves the story in a direction you least expect. No spoilers – but it involves a pie chart.

Neads and Ebong are impressive as the oddball pair in this two-hander, which also requires them to slip in and out of other characters and convey a wide range of emotions.

Oh, there’s also an excellent vasectomy joke.

I’ll be seeing Dromgoole’s Mary’s Babies at Jermyn Street Theatre later this month. Can’t wait.

3 Billion Seconds is on at the Vault Festival until 10 March.