Review: After(s), White Bear Theatre

The perils of midweek drinking writ large – After(s) examines what it means to be in your mid-twenties today at the White Bear Theatre in Kennington

“You’re an inspiration – you made a strap-on out of a banana”

It’s a little known truth that when two men kiss for the first time, Dolly Parton will start playing. Or so Scott Mackie and Santino Smith would have you believe in a witty moment early on in their new play After(s). It’s also a bit of a misdirect as where you think you might be getting a play that explores sexuality, it soon shifts that onto the back-burner as it delves into other issues.

The play is mainly an exploration of how no good can come from mid-week drinking, when recklessness crashes into responsibilities. Andy has just finished a long day in the office when he bumps into his best-friend-from-high-school-back-in Paisley-Yog and as a catch-up pint turns into shots into clubbing into afterpartying, the carefully ordered pieces of his London life come tumbling down around him in the most farcical of manners. Continue reading “Review: After(s), White Bear Theatre”

Review: PLAY – The Subterranean Season, VAULT Festival

“We’re gonna Jean Valjean the shit out of this”

PLAY – The Subterranean Season takes in plays 23-26 in their ever-growing programme of short plays, devised in just two weeks by a collaboration of writers, directors and actors up for the challenge of creating something sparklingly, spankingly, brand new and fresh. I saw PLAY Theatre Theatre Company for the first time at the VAULT Festival last year and fell for them hard, as is evident from the pull quote they’ve opted to use on their publicity this year (one for my scrapbook!). 

As ever, the four PLAYs cover a wide range of themes and styles, from the deceptively whimsical to the psychologically acute, sometimes within the same 15 minutes. For me, Aisha Zia’s 24 and Miriam Battye’s 26 achieved this balance perfectly, the former (directed by Holly Race-Roughan) mixing hipsterish shenanigans with guitars and cardboard boxes with a darkening look at the desperation of flat-hunting in South London. And the latter’s portrayal of an intense friendship was breath-takingly good, Matt Harrison teasing some sensational work from Emily Stott and Jessica Clark. Continue reading “Review: PLAY – The Subterranean Season, VAULT Festival”