Think theatre is just for and by old people? Well this play about an afterparty that lasts two days will change your mind.
Theatre can often be inaccessible. Sometimes it costs too much, and plays can last for hours. Playwrights are frequently ancient or long dead. The situations characters find themselves in can be so removed from reality that we wonder how someone from this planet even wrote it. This isn’t the case with After(s).
Written by West of Scotland natives Scott Mackie and Santino Smith, the play commences as the sun comes up on childhood best friends Andrew (Mackie) and Yog (Smith), after an unplanned afterparty. The two have drifted apart since their teenage years: Andrew is a conventionally successful grownup, he works in finance and lives in London with his girlfriend, Sarah (Lucy Heath) whilst Yog lives in Paisley with his mum, and works at the local Wetherspoons (The Last Post). Andrew goes to work with a terrible comedown, and returns to find that Yog has still not left his house. Andrew had planned to propose to Sarah that evening, but Yog lingers and it turns into another party, with pizza delivery girl Laura (Laura Singleton) joining them.
The play is ultimately written from experience. We’ve all been to afterparties where we’ve stayed too long, the sun starts to come up and the fear hits us before we’ve even slept. The characters are at their most honest and vulnerable when they are full of drink and drugs, the reality for most on a night out. Smith and Mackie manage to authentically capture the intense conversations that are had on these big nights, while questioning if conventional success actually makes us happy.
Ultimately, it’s a relatable comedy farce for young people. There are mad moments, mostly coming from the loveable but somewhat naive Yog, who is portrayed effortlessly by Smith. Some of the things he does are ridiculous, provoking laughs from the sold-out crowd. Mackie plays the neurotic and success-striving Andrew very convincingly, at times you forget that you’re watching a play thanks to the relatable setting and the close-to-life manner of the characters. The angry yet caring Laura is a crazy addition as Singleton moves between emotions (and accents) in a comedic way. As Sarah, Heath manages to be annoying, highly-strung and arrogant, but both the writers and the actor deserve credit for how she goes from being hated to sympathised with throughout the course of the play.
Far from your standard play, After(s) is full of ridiculous moments, close-to-life characters, drink, drugs and partying. It’s theatre that young people can enjoy. It made me want to go out afterwards.