Deadpan Theatre return to the Fringe after their sell-out success
Packed full of very clever ideas, fantastic characterisation and a joyful energy
Predrinks in performed on each odd day of the month, and Afterparty on each even day. I saw the latter, which works well as a stand-alone piece of drama, although more clarity on which performance we were seeing could have minimised confusion.
Afterparty begins, at you might imagine, as a group of 20-somethings roll in from a night out. We’re introduced to the host of characters; the wonderfully flamboyant Angus (Harry Trevaldwyn) who is the cupid of the group, Jenny (Robyn Wilson) the butter-wouldn’t-melt good girl and her love interest Jack (Julian Mack), Leah (Jude Mack) the wilder one of her on-off-on-again love duo with Ally (Eliot Salt) and finally Sazzle (Sylvie Briggs) the bad girl who is keen on a party and a bit of pot-stirring.
The cast give a tremendous amount to the show, and it is clear it is terrifically well-rehearsed. The script holds up well, although at times it tries to be a little too clever for its own good – with a slightly overblown unrealistic feel to some of the kooky jokes and references, which doesn’t fit with the rest of the very believable and down-to-earth tone of the rest of the show. While the whole cast shine and there are no weak performances, standout acting comes from Jude Mack and Julian Mack, whose onstage friendship is delightful and very natural. Jude also matches very nicely with Ally, whose energetic and charismatic performance gives the whole show a boost. Robyn Wilson is also very engaging in her character and her story arch proves hilarious and terribly sweet.
The show is at times let down by slightly turgid plot-building in the script, leaving the audience a little nonplussed as to what’s supposed to be going on, and the action moves at lightning pace, flitting between lots of different ideas that make the whole thing a little overcomplicated. This of course all adds to the vibe of the ‘messy afterparty’ but becomes difficult to follow. Lines are also consistently lost when actors talk too fast and face away from sections of the audience.
Despite these criticisms the show holds up very well, proving enjoyable, funny, and true to its description. It’s packed full of very clever ideas, fantastic characterisation and a joyful energy. This is a very talented group of young actors; definitely watch out for them in the future.