One day Above The Stag will stage a play set under some railway arches, and the incessant thundering overhead will chime perfectly with the action on stage. Until that day, it’s fortunate that the venue predominantly programmes light-hearted fare, so the regular rumbles don’t distracting from anything serious.
Peter Quilter’s play bears no relation to reality but is plenty of fun. It’s like a farcical sitcom that is only concerned with finding the next cheap laugh and keeping the audience entertained, which it does very well. It’s silly, but charmingly played by a committed cast of four, and takes place on a beautifully made pink-themed bedroom set (kudos to designer David Shields). If the jokes aren’t particularly smart or original, they are certainly effective on their own terms, and come at you thick and fast.
Two gorgeous 20-something guys meet in a cinema queue one Friday evening, and many drinks later wake up in bed together. The bed belongs to Adam (Chris Cahill), but just as Thomas (David Fenne) remembers how he got there, in bursts Adam’s mum Barbara (Colleen Daley) with breakfast for all three of them to share under the covers.
A week later the boys are going steady. They get engaged on their first holiday, and a whole six months after they met they get married, with Adam’s uncle Martin (Matthew Lloyd Davies) paying for the nuptials and the Mexican honeymoon, which of course the whole quirky family join in on.
There’s a lingering whiff of the panto season to this production (unsurprisingly as director Andrew Beckett is a veteran) and such a flimsy confection would run the risk of falling desperately flat if it wasn’t guided with a sure touch by Beckett and supported by a quartet of game performances. At the centre of it all, Cahill as Adam is blithely calm amidst the madness, as if he knows something we don’t; Fenne gives Thomas just the right degree of panic; Daley enthusiastically inhabits the standard horny mum, and whatever Martin is supposed to be, Lloyd Davies grapples that enigmatic part with gusto.
As the beaming cast take their curtain call, the cheers from the audience are loud enough to rival the trains trundling over our heads.
Written by: Peter Quilter
Directed by: Andrew Beckett
Playing until: 1 March 2020
Booking link: https://abovethestag.org.uk/whatson/the-morning-after/