The Union Theatre is undoubtedly one of the best fringe venues in London for putting on innovative new work, with casts of exciting young actors. After Party is no exception.
The show begins with the party. Cleverly placed choreographed movements are scattered amongst the general party scene, which gives the opening to the show the energy it needs to bring the audience into the intimate world of the play. It is also a lovely contrast to the next scene, a much quieter morning after, where the play truly begins.
The show is modern and raw, think a stage version of a really great episode of Skins crossed with a Simon Stephens’ play. James Meteyard writes a cohort of really fantastic characters that are far from one dimensional. Harlan (Jack Fairley) is a perfect example of this. He initially appears a dopey comic character, yet as the play progresses he begins to reveal a wiser side, which thanks to Fairley’s wonderful performance and Meteyard’s intelligent and lyrical language, is completely believable. However, this doesn’t always work, as I felt that the more poetic language wasn’t necessarily earned by all the characters, and therefore came a little bit out of nowhere.
Nonetheless, the cast are on the whole, very strong. The bond between the characters is extremely natural (no surprise many of the cast went to drama school together with Meteyard). Will (Jamie Chandler) and Harlan’s heartwarming bromance was particularly lovely to watch, a relationship that is often caricatured but was in this case, very honest.
Chandler completely embodies the character of Will, and his interpretation of the role is a joy to watch. He has a real stage presence and I found myself drawn to watching him even when he wasn’t the focus of the scene.
However, without a doubt the stand out relationship in the show is Phoebe (Megan Pemberton) and Allan (Tom Crowhurst). Amongst the more serious elements of the show, their scenes together are a breath of fresh air. Crowhurst is hysterical, awkward yet completely truthful in his portrayal of the quirky character. He takes advantage of his lanky frame (dressed in oversized trousers that keep falling down) to create a character who the audience fell in love with from the first moment of the play. Paired with Pemberton’s Phoebe, a stern and sensible woman, the result is beautiful and electric. I honestly think I could have watched an entire play with just the two of them. Pemberton is another actor with fantastic stage presence, every time she walked on stage the energy just raised a little. She is definitely one to watch in the future.
The play is charming and riveting. It’s well constructed and thanks to a very vibrant cast and clever writing, rarely has moments where it dips. It is a fantastic writing debut for Meteyard and I look forward to seeing what he writes next.
Review by Kara Taylor Alberts
“Because let’s face it, if we’re the future of the human race… Then we’re all fucked. Love is the only thing that will keep this world from crashing and burning.”
Max is in prison set to serve half of his sentence for causing the death of Alice Watson for driving While intoxicated. Last night Bethany’s birthday party raised the roof, shook the ground and caused Allan to miss his coach home. As Harlan and Bethany continue the antics through the next day, tensions tighten when an old friend comes to visit.
Wildcard presents the first ever showing of After Party by James Meteyard. This new play challenges our moral obligation, questions loyalty and assesses the importance of love in the world we live in.
Writer | James Meteyard
Director | James Meteyard
Cast: Jamie Chandler, Tom Crowhurst, Jack Fairley, Ella McLoughlin, Ashley Byam, Emily Stott, Megan Pemberton, Ben Lydon
Box office: http://www.uniontheatre.biz/
204 Union Street
Thursday 26th May