Theatre Review: After Dinner

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Presented by State Theatre Company
Reviewed 11 April 2018

On a beautifully understated set to a backdrop of eighties music, Corey MacMahon has brought Andrew Bovell’s comedy to life. Just what was needed after a surfeit of seriousness that followed the Fringe and Festival. The intention is not to make you think but to entertain.

Three ladies having a girls’ night out, workmates who are there for various reasons, and at the next table a couple of blokes waiting for a mate to join them, such a typical scenario. This one inhabited by Bovell’s carefully drawn characters, each one easily recognisable and each actor playing their character to perfection.

Dympie, played by Jude Henshall, is uptight, withdrawn and manipulative (we all know one). Henshall’s facial expressions are marvellous. Ellen Steele is Paula, helpful, sympathetic and single, trying to keep things on an even keel while dealing with Dympie’s jealousy and Monika’s depression. Steele often seems the most normal character, but I wonder. As Monika, Ellen Carapetis plays the many shades and changes of the character well. Monika is recently widowed and finds the adjustment challenging.

First on stage is Rory Walker as Gordon, your average male past his prime and too timid to step outside his narrow world, this is a big night out having dinner with friends. Stephen is a ladies man (at least in his mind) and is keen to interact with their fellow diners. Nathan Page plays this for all he is worth and the dialogue is full of those not quite connecting thoughts.

The real fun, as you would guess, comes after dinner when introductions have been made, misunderstandings have been coped with and the music starts. This is a funny play filled with people you know and situations you recognise: nothing to do but sit back and enjoy the laughter.

Go see it; we all need some comedy in our lives!

Reviewed by Fran Edwards
Twitter: @franeds

Venue: Dunstan Playhouse, Adelaide Festival Centre
Season: 7-29 Apr 2018
Duration: 2hr
Tickets: $30 – $89
Bookings: www.bass.com.au

Photo Credit: Chris Herzfeld

 

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Glam Adelaide Arts Writer & Reviewer

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