Thu 4th – Mon 29th August 2016


Caragh Aylett

at 03:36 on 22nd Aug 2016



Being fully aware that I was the most sober person in the room, I took my seat for Deadpan Theatre’s ‘PREDRINKS’. The first of a two part series, ‘PREDRINKS’ presents a snap shot of the life of a group of mismatched twenty-somethings. Written and performed by Bristol graduates, Jude Mack and Eliot Salt, the piece is witty, fast-paced and deliciously funny.

The narrative depicts a rather mundane event, but somehow, the minds behind Deadpan Theatre have moulded this into a consistently engaging and wonderful, original piece of theatre. The audience is presented with the scatty but likable Leah (Jude Mack) and drag queen extraordinaire, Angus (Harry Trevaldwyn), we are quickly thrown into their world and learn of how tonight, is Angus’ big night. The plot shifts when Angus’ anecdotal manager, Ally (Eliot Salt), arrives and we are presented with a tricky past between Ally and Leah who were not planning to meet again. This scenario leads to brilliantly executed awkward scenes and wonderfully entertaining childish behaviour. The not-quite-relationship of Jenny (Robyn Wilson) and Jack (Julian Mack) is equally as amusing. With each awkward conversation and longing stare, the chemistry between the two is evident and, for this, the actors deserve great praise. Indeed, the acting throughout is flawless and while this is certainly a result of impeccable acting ability it also reflects fluid and intelligent writing.

The performance winds up with a slightly unrealistic ending. While the characters are slightly obscure they are fully believable throughout and that is why the ending comes across as annoyingly implausible. However, despite this, the piece does work and this is so evident in the reaction of the audience. Indeed, the standing ovation suggested that perhaps I was the only one slightly irritated by the ending of the piece.

‘PREDRINKS’ is not a thought provoking, gritty piece of theatre but neither does it claim to be. It will not stay with you long after you have seen it, but in that hour you will become fully invested in the five characters and really care about their plans. The ability to create such engaging theatre is remarkable and such an incredible skill. ‘PREDRINKS’ is witty, entertaining and comical and it really is the perfect beginning to a night out at the Fringe.


Ed Grimble

at 11:50 on 22nd Aug 2016



Plays about the domestic shenanigans of a group of millennials are ten a penny at this year’s Fringe. Rocking up at the Underbelly I expected much of the same. To the contrary, Deadpan Theatre deliver something very different in ‘AFTERPARTY’ to the uninspired drivel that this genre usually produces. This is revelry which harkens back to Evelyn Waugh’s ‘Vile Bodies’- plus a smattering of punishingly loud Europop.

Rolling in from what appears to have been an eventful night on the tiles (the events are sandwiched in between ‘AFTERPARTY’, and the Deadpan’s concurrently running show ‘PREDRINKS’), the group are of course in high spirits. As was the case when I saw the play, so are the audience- an eleven thirty performance time and the Underbelly bar are to thank here. This is a play that lives or dies with the energy of both cast and audience; one has the feeling that if one or the other were to waver for too long, then ‘AFTERPARTY’ would grind to halt. A thumping soundtrack- at times gratuitously loud- and some golden one-liners keep the audience fired up, and this allows the sheer gusto of this play to continue unimpeded.

Some of the lines in the script are fantastic- very witty quips or surreal exclamations that result in whoops and chortles from the audience. However, there is a peculiar incongruity between the play’s naturalistic premise, character construction, and plot; and the sheer volume of witticisms that have tried to be included in the writing. There are times where the play has the feel of a series of very similar sketches in that some of the mundanity, which should be punctuated by hilarious punchlines, is missing. Casual conversation fillers, platitudes, and general umming and arring are eschewed in favour of more humour, but the result means that the script sometimes feels a little saturated.

Across the board, the cast give stellar performances. Jude Mack and Harry Trevaldwyn stand out. The former plays bouncy, romantically insecure Leah, whilst Trevaldwyn plays dress and mascara sporting Angus with a wonderful campiness and unforgivingly sharp tongue. In a play of such high octane, the fact that no one seems to put a foot wrong is a credit to this young cast.

Whilst plays of this nature are unlikely to break any ground in dramatic terms, they can provide a brilliant theatrical spectacle if tackled with the same bombast and gusto with which Deadpan Theatre inject ‘AFTERPARTY’. For some great laughs, drunken revelry, and a roof-raising soundtrack, snap up a ticket to see this show.


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