The latest production by writer/director Wayne Tunks is excellent entertainment value.
In an age when our life is dictated by shopping lists, a plethora of terrible pop-cultural references and reality TV that seems to be on a doomed trajectory – Things Not To Do After a Break Up is a perfect way to spend an evening at the theatre.
The title speaks for itself. And it does so in those aforementioned clichéd pop references. But fortunately that’s not all. There is substance to this narrative and underlying subtleties do shyly appear if only to vanish at the appearance of ridiculously bad boy-band footage. The cast do a very good job and in their second week of performances, seem to have achieved a comfortable, if not rollicking momentum for the duration of the two hours of the show.
Todd Morgan as Damian, the much needed gay best friend, steals the spotlight by offering a nuanced and clever characterisation while revelling in the stereotype – moreover, he successfully moves beyond it as well. Steven Cole also is a notable performer playing a range of characters all of whose names start with the letter M! Surprisingly, they don’t blur with Cole’s giving a consistently sharp performance, a credit both to Tunks’ writing andCole’s skill.
The narratives of the different characters unfold to reveal plenty of humour, including some suitably cringe-worthy recollections that strongly demand audience empathy. Because the naked truth is that some of the things people do after a break-up is hilarious. And paranoid. Obsessive even. But hindsight is a wonderful thing.
The show runs for a tad too long which doesn’t quite do justice to the underlying themes that do eventually emerge – but they do exist. Beneath the shallow, superficial, highly expletive ridden drunks there is a story that deserves to be told; and in this version it doesn’t quite get the breadth it deserves. Nevertheless, a very good night out for laughs and perhaps even a wander down memory lane.