12th Jan to 10th Feb 2024
“This raw, funny, and sensual exploration of polyamory, commitment, and modern love tells the story of Josh and Alex, a married couple in an open relationship. When they invite Darius to share their bed for a night, a new and intimate connection is ignited. Relationships are challenged and futures are shaken as all three men come to terms with their individual definitions of love, loyalty, and trust.
The new production reunites the original, record-breaking creative team, which, as well as Gelman includes set designer Ann Beyersdorfer, lighting designer Jamie Roderick and sound designer Alex Mackyol. Costume designer Justin Nardella, intimacy director Lee Crowley and casting director Anne Vosser join the team.”
Review by Richard Lambert
What an incredible production at the Southwark playhouse. Look past the false ceiling of the set and you’ll see that it’s basically a large vaulted barn room. But you’d never know that once you’re in for AFTERGLOW.
James Anderton as production manager has achieved an incredible install of a mirrored floor that allows a shower to work on-stage with real water flowing, pea lights set under the mirrored floor along with multiple LED tubes. Then there’s LED edging around the floor and around the centre square. If that wasn’t enough, there’s a flying rectangular piece that can be lowered to form part of the bed, again edged in LED tape. A false mirrored ceiling filled with more pea lights. Upstage are 2 mirrored wall panels with pea lights and these panels are tracked to move stage left or stage right. And upstage of them are even more mirrored panels with embedded pea lights.
The lighting designer, Jamie Roderick, has worked around the set to integrate all these practical lighting elements while also adding centre down fill and a full circumference of additional lights to hit from every angle and always catch the actors for skin tones.
And there is a lot of skin on show to tone! This is probably the show that has the most comfortable looking nudity from the actors – perhaps they’re naturists off-stage, they pad around completely at ease in what nature gave them and use the shower multiple times. Quite an ask of any actor.
The lighting and set are absolutely gorgeous! Beautiful looks throughout. If I had one gripe it would be that the festoon lights stayed on for the first 30 minutes of the show meaning I was distracted by the audience and watching their reactions as much as the performance. I hope this was a press night glitch and not the intention.
The moveable set pieces are staged choreographically between the scenes to allow for location changes and this was done with drilled precision.
Dramatically the piece has a modern polyamorous story that pulled at the heart strings at one critical moment but so as not to give any spoilers that section should remain without description here. Peter McPherson and James Nicholson nailing it and almost making me cry. A truly terrific cast!
The sound is un-mic’d which made a little bit of the text hard to hear when the space is the size it is and the audience are in a thrust configuration, however the plot still carried with clarity. Maybe a couple of rifle mics would help here?
Special mention must be given to the costumes from Justin Nardella. Many different costume changes and all perfectly matching the characters and well fitted.
This is a beautifully crafted high quality production that should not be missed!
Photo Credit: The Other Richard
Written and directed by S. Asher Gelman
SOUTHWARK PLAYHOUSE BOROUGH
77-85 Newington Causeway
London SE1 6BD
FRIDAY 12 JANUARY TO SATURDAY 10 FEBRUARY
Monday to Saturday at 7.30pm
Tuesday and Saturday at 3.00pm
Recommended age 16+. The show contains strong language and nudity
Approximately 90 minutes. No interval
Pioneer Preview (12 January) – £10
Preview Tickets (13 – 16 January) – £16
Standard (17 January – 10 February) – £26 (£20 concessions)