Monday, 28 July 2014

Afterglow @ 24:7 Festival, 24.07.14

This tale of girl meets boy strikes an interesting counter point/companion piece to the similarly themed In My Bed. Both share similar set design (the action revolves around a bed) and a fractured approach to narrative structure but Afterglow is easily the lighter of the two pieces.

The play is a two hander and as such lives or dies on the spark between it's romantic leads. Both Julie Burrow (who also wrote) and John Weaver share an easy chemistry, playful, likeable and candid. Both give charming and emotionally charged performances. They are the every couple, their problems are shared candidly and as things unravel the piece does not force us to take sides. At the bow the audience is left thinking of their own relationships, what is and what could have been.

Burrow's script is witty and heartfelt. When he asks her what her favourite place in the world is, she replaces “Barcelona.” When she asks the question of him he responds “The middle of a tram.” This is her first full length piece and I hope she continues to write with such humanity and truth.

Megan Marie Griffith's direction is smart and inventive use is made of the stage and set to depict various locations (the blue bed cover becomes the sea in a beach scene). The pacing is tight and she teases subtle performances from her actors.

Whilst Afterglow may explore well travelled territory, the modern relationship, rarely have I seen this subject approached so unpretentiously. For all it's speeches to the audience and fun use of set it feels oddly untheatrical in it's depiction of a realistic relationship. It's in the small moments, the truthful moments, that this play really shines and whilst it may not have much new to say it says it better than most.

Words: Sean Mason

Images: Courtesy of 24:7 Festival and PYFOP.

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