WORTH A LOOK?: ***
WHERE? Southwark Playhouse RUNTIME: 90 minutes
WHEN? 8/6 (matinee), opened 11/6, runs to 20/7/2019
Married couple Josh and Alex have invited Darius into the bed at their present-day New York apartment and we join them during their noisy naked threesome as the play opens.
- Read on for reasons including how this play with an onstage shower found its US audience
There’s a lot of male nudity in this three-hander which might not be unexpected given there’s an onstage shower and even a backstage bathroom.
Author S. Asher Gelman writes in the programme: ‘In the initial stages, actors refused to audition in fear that being attached to the production might stunt their careers.’
Afterglow opened on 12 June 2017 and was intended to close two months later. It eventually closed after 14 months and 467 performances.
The Southwark Playhouse is host for its UK premiere and its three leads give us all they have. Jesse Fox is particularly affecting as the young Darius who comes between the married couple.
His role is the best written and we gain some understanding for the loneliness he feels and the difficulties in finding love in a city where something shallower is almost instantly available at the touch of the button.
Our sympathies are also pricked by researcher Alex who initially appreciates the extra ‘me’ time he is afforded when husband Josh strikes up more than a friendship with Darius.
Theatre director Josh, however, has far less to redeem him. The show climaxes with aspiring parents Alex and Josh in danger of falling apart over the third person in their relationship.
Will the UK bask in the afterglow of this play in the same way that the US did? We suspect this eye-catching production’s focus on sex will find an audience but might struggle to engage minds.