The longing for a genuine human connection and the fear exposing yourself to ridicule, embarrassment and rejection, is as relevant now as it was when After Dinner was first performed in 1988. This little known piece, by Australian playwright Andrew Bovell, is often overshadowed by his more renowned cinematic works such as Strictly Ballroom, Head On and Lantana, and yet it is, by far, the most relatable. After Dinner places before the audience a collection of stereotyped, suburban singles who are out for a Friday night and hoping for a connection. Each character is intrinsically flawed and lonely as well as uniquely socially inept. This is the perfect set up for a comedy of the human condition.
StarheART Theatre, a self-proclaimed “armature” company, have made an excellent decision in electing to perform After Dinner. The unpretentious and relatable situation the action revolves around makes it a highly accessible narrative to the entire audience, irrespective of age, background or persuasion. Furthermore, the simplicity of the characters has allowed the actors to concentrate on the creation of genuinely awkward moments and the all-important comic timing and delivery of superb one-liners – of which this play can boast. A special mention must be made of Marley Reid’s performance, who portrayed the bereaved divorcee Gordon. Reid’s characterisation was superb and his delivery of lines often yielded a good portion of the audience’s laughter.
StarheART Theatre’s performance of After Dinner is an amusing way to spend a night out in Adelaide, and one that is best enjoyed with company.
For show times and to book tickets, see the Fringe guide.