A group of teenage friends celebrate after their final exams and look towards the future. But are they taking the celebrations too far, and dreaming too big? Afterparty is about what you want out of life, how likely you are to get it, and how far you’d go to make it happen. A pop-pumped night out quickly turns into a reckoning for the five characters and their loyalties to each other.
A pop-pumped night out quickly turns into a reckoning
A direct-address introduction, a bus ride, and a wild clubnight makes for a dynamic opening. Hannah McEachern’s capable direction rises to the challenge of this changing setting, so it’s a shame to see the rest of the play stuck in one place. From that point on, the cast shuffle uncertainly about the stage in a way which fails to make it nearly as visually interesting as its strong start.
Despite this, and at the same time as making a serious point about inequalities, Rachel O’Regan’s script also creates numerous opportunities for fun. The characters have a laugh at each other’s expense, and this proves a successful way to get the audience chuckling with them and invested in their relationships. These relationships are the crux of the play, with an effective twist shedding new light on each of them, and what they mean to each other. All five actors are strong, and absolutely nail the appearance of close and complex bonds. You really believe in them as individuals, and as a group of friends.
F-Bomb Theatre’s mission statement is to provide a platform for ‘bold new theatre that speaks to the complex experiences of what it means to be a woman’. Afterparty doesn’t quite fit that description. Certainly all the characters are female, but their experiences are much more defined by other aspects of their situation than their gender. It is a play about the opportunities afforded to you by your economic and educational background. While it doesn’t deliver as the relatable representation of girlhood it might seem to be on the tin, it does deal with the subjects it addresses with nuance and care. If you want a play to think about and characters to feel for, Afterparty is the one to watch.