Saturday Night Forever

I’ve left theatres in all sorts of states from elation to depression, anger to jubilation, in tears and totally numb. I left Saturday Night Forever marginally moved and totally frustrated. Even seated in the auditorium I was willing it to be better, to say something new, to be original, to shock me and not let me sit contentedly predicting every turn in the tale long before it happened. Alas, nothing was forthcoming.

Merely a straightforward story with some humour and vivid imagery that has been salvaged from the archive of theatre history

The set makes it look promising. A curve of vertical, illuminated wall bars extends across the stage, glittering and sparkling. They hold the promise of dramatic mood changes and flashing discos. For the most part they don’t disappoint and even change to the right shade of deep yellow at the mention of Grindr.

Next, the simple gay narrative unfolds. Lee is going out with Matt. Matt loves his Saturday nights out dancing. Lee was born with two left feet and feels inadequate. They break up. After a period in hibernation Lee is invited to a friend’s housewarming party where he meets Carl and falls in love. That is not the denouement, but if you draw up a list of maybe three possible endings one of them will almost certainly be right.

The play, by Roger Williams, dates from 1998. It has been revised and updated on several occasions since then. At the time, it was regarded by some as cutting edge, though Victoria Cooper’s description of it as “Brecht in the twenty-first century” even then was surely a severe case of hyperbole. Saturday Night Forever is now merely a straightforward story with some humour and vivid imagery that has been salvaged from the archive of theatre history.

Delme Thomas as narrator Lee does his very best to rescue the script. He has certain advantages from the outset. He is tall, slim, good looking, has an endearing Welsh accent, a great smile and manages to turn a good tune when forced into performing at a karaoke night. His delivery is clear and has pace. Bravely not moving from his centre-stage location until the very last moment, he holds his ground relating details of the story with humour, enthusiasm and pathos as required. He incrementally builds up to a moving, if predictable, climax.

Ultimately, however, Delme Thomas is much better than the material he has been given. Overall it’s pleasant show, but unlike Saturday night the play itself is unlikely to run forever.

Reviews by Richard Beck

503 Theatre St


Queen's Theatre Hornchurch

The Witchfinder’s Sister

The Hope Theatre

Rat King

Brockley Jack Theatre

The Idea

Young Vic Theatre


Finborough Theatre

How to Survive an Apocalypse


Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now



The Blurb

A roller coaster ride through Cardiff's nightlife as gay man Lee breaks up with one lover and resolves never to fall in love again. But when Lee receives an invitation to a friend's house-warming everything seems ripe for change and it only takes seven hours, a bottle of vodka and the devil on his shoulder for him to break his promise and fall back into the arms of a new admirer. Follow Lee on a journey through the wreckage of past relationships and the early stages of a promising new love affair, but nothing lasts forever.

Most Popular See More

The Mousetrap

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Cinderella The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Dear Evan Hansen

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Lion King

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets