Afterglow, Southwark Playhouse | Review

Southwark Playhouse
Reviewed on Tuesday 11th June 2019 by Shaun Dicks

“There are no fairy tales about polyamory.”

Afterglow is ‘The little play that could’. After its impressive off Broadway run of 14 months and 467 performances, it has made its way across the pond to the Southwark Playhouse, a theatre synonymous with fantastic shows.

In this story we follow three men, the married couple of Josh and Alex, played by Sean Hart and Danny Mahoney, and the complication to Josh and Alex’s marriage, Darius who is played by Jesse Fox. The story follows these three men as the ins and outs and potential complications of polyamory play out. It explores the ideas of commitment, love and the malleability of relationships.

The script written by S. Asher Gelman is a good one, the dialogue is clean, interesting and has brilliant jokes but also has some very honest and real lines in there. The monologues of Darius are just fantastic, and Jesse Fox does well with them; delivering some hard truths excellently. Danny Mahoney as Alex does a good job being the anchor of the show, giving his co-stars a chance to be a bit freer on stage.

The star of the show though is Sean Hart as Josh. Josh is a well fleshed out character, that has obviously been thought through and is fully realised. Hart’s character work makes his co-stars characters look a little non-descript at points.

The direction from Tom O’Brien is ok, the one thing that hampers this show is the scene transitions, they are just so long, it sucks the energy out of the show. The transitions are so long, you could go out, get a drink and get back before the next scene starts. 

David Howe's lighting is great, doing well to elevate the piece higher by being creative in his design. The set design by Libby Todd is fine, but their design is half the problem with the very long scene transitions.

Afterglow isn’t your typical fairy tale but in this pride season, it does give a fair, true and honest representation of polyamory and the gay community as a whole; giving life to a story that needs to be told. It’s a show that does have flaws but that’s almost part of its charm.

It’s a highly recommended piece of viewing for all. Gay, Straight, Bisexual, Asexual, Pansexual. Cisgendered, Non-Binary, Transgender, Gender Queer. It is ultimately a show about people and how the heart wants what the heart wants.

photo credit: Darren Bell

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