Thursday, 4 February 2016

Swing by Around 8: Ghost Light Theater Group ☆ ☆ ☆

It’s not like every day that you get a production that hones in on the mysteries of an orgy party. In society, it’s (not really!) a taboo, so here’s a bit of an insight into how unsexy, disorganised, confusing and stressful it is to pull off. Yet somehow a torn couple, Katherine (Elizabeth Lloyd Raynes) and Matt (Donncha Kearney), figure that it’s the only way they can salvage their dying relationship – by getting it on with other people (at the same time!), - though it ends up being a bit of a disaster with too much wine and silly innuendoes that all go tits up.

Swing by Around 8 is a short new play that made an impact at last year’s Edinburgh Fringe, and Ghost Light Theatre Group has taken the work, written by Jessica Bray, and brought it to London. Directed by designer and educator David Gasperetti, Swing by around 8 is showing at the pocket sized pub theatre of Bread and Roses theatre. There’s music by the late David Bowie, playing in the background, accompanied by a dinner table and an open-legged chicken with some chocolate mousse and one less plate of beige food.

Amelia, the well-spoken lady who can’t handle her drink, (Laura Mckee) brings along her philanderer partner Elliott (Jonathan McGarrity), the nurse. Dinner seems to be going so well until one of them feels uncomfortable and their other half begins to enjoy the sexual flirtation a little too much. Then, a host of domestic problems and tetchy issues hit the fan.

Raynes is a tour de force with her performance as the control freak and over-paranoid girlfriend, while Kearney, and his cute Irish accent, give a smooth performance as the insecure boyfriend on the tipping point of throwing in the towel on his relationship with Katherine. Mckee and McGarrity are also a talented duo as professional swingers in Bray’s intriguing work. But it’s just a shame that it ends so soon. Although Sam Blake has a small role in the piece as the policeman, you’re pretty convinced he could have been in on the foreplay as well.

It’s easy to get drawn into these character’s little worlds. As the play goes on you get a deeper understanding of them, though it would have been enlightening to have understood why both couples had relationship problems and what they were about. Yet seriousness aside, this play is warm and funny, and had me chuckling throughout. There’s a lot of material for a sequel. Hint, Hint!

Gasperetti has brought together a convincing cast of new performers and dealt with an interesting issue that many are curious about. It’s a poignant piece especially during a time when online dating and sexual experimentation is on a high.

Only showing until the 6th Feb. Click here for more information. 
Check them out on social media: Facebook:  GhostLightTheatreGroup
Twitter:  @GhostLightTG
Nearest station: Clapham North tube 

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