After(s) at the White Bear

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‘After(s)’ is the new comedy from writing duo Scott Mackie and Santino Smith running at the White Bear until 8th February.

The play opens as a drug fueled party is wrapping up. We meet Andy (Scott Mackie), Yog (Santino Smith) and the semi-conscious Chris (George Edwards). Coming in at this point you’d be forgiven for thinking they are close friends, but Chris is a total random who seems to be able to sleep anywhere, while Andy and Yog haven’t seen each other in years.  Throw in an ambiguous kiss, a pizza delivery girl with anger management issues, a long-term girlfriend Andy hasn’t told Yog about, alcohol and MDMA, and things get ridiculous, fast.

‘After(s)’ embraces the conventions of face very effectively. The play is full of laugh out loud moments that feed off the ever increasing ridiculousness of the situation.  Andy’s old school friend Yog tears through his new life like a wrecking ball, but it is all done out of a misguided kind of love. Andy grew up. Yog didn’t. This makes for a dangerous combination.

Laura Singleton is hilarious as pizza delivery girl Laura, who manages to be both full of rage and wisdom. She provides a strangely wonky but effective moral compass for the piece, as she speaks out against the need for social acceptance. If you’re unclear who the dickhead of the play is, fear not, Laura will tell you. Meanwhile Lucy Heath, as Andy’s girlfriend Sarah, is the straight-man of the piece, representing the new life that Andy has made for himself, a life he is determined to protect.  Her incredulity at the situation she finds herself in helps to further land the comedy. Plus I enjoyed warming to her as the story unfolds, it would have been all to easy to make her the villain of the piece.

Scott Mackie and Santino Smith write, direct and star in the play.  I normally approach plays with writer/directors with great trepidation (I’ve suffered) but as a creative team they really work.  I loved the pacing of the comedy. I really enjoyed the silliness of the situations, and the underlying themes of acceptance and quarter-life crisis that lift it above pure one-dimensional farce.

For those that enjoy a good belly laugh, a heavy dose of silliness, and a plot that probably shouldn’t be analysed too deeply, ‘After(s)’ is the show for you.

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