Last week I was lucky enough to catch Dark Sublime while still in preview at the Trafalgar Studios. I went with a gaggle of theatre and sci-fi loving friends, so I had the added pressure of being the organiser. What if they all hated it? My theatre-guru credibility would be shot. Fortunately they loved it, with my favourite theatre-husband, Nigel, reviewing it as follows:
“A brilliantly funny play that throws the worlds of acting, 80s TV SciFi and their obsessive fans together. With older lesbian characters and a young gay man, it has CULT written through it like a stick of rock! Superb acting and some nifty props and costumes that I’d love to snatch up at the end of the run!”
I’d been looking forward to seeing Dark Sublime since I’d interviewed the playwright Michael Dennis back in April (you can read the interview here). It’s his debut play and from my conversation with him I got a real sense of just how important this story had become to him. I can understand why, there is something so engaging about the characters he has created, I felt reluctant to leave them behind when I left the theatre.
The joy of Dark Sublime is the perfectly pitched comedy, while it’s depth comes from the authenticity and complexity of Marianne’s relationships with her oldest friend and the burgeoning friendship with a young fan. Insecurities, retro snacks (don’t watch this play on an empty stomach), quips, special effects, a fabulous cast and wine, sooo much wine, bubble through the play, infusing what is ultimately an intimate story of love and friendship with a delicious fizz of energy.
Dark Sublime has a lot to offer audiences, whether you’re going because of a love for theatre or sci-fi (or in the case of my group – both). I loved the fact it made me laugh (a lot) but never at the expense of the characters’ emotional journeys, the balance being masterfully achieved through the sensitive direction of Andrew Keates, and resonant performances by a phenomenal cast.
Just in case there is any doubt, I would highly recommend nabbing tickets ASAP to see the funny and moving Dark Sublime. I suspect some early audience members may be lured back in for second helpings, and you wouldn’t want them to mop up all the remaining tickets before you manage to secure yours!
Dark Sublime runs at the Trafalgar Studios until the 3rd August 2019.