Departure Date

Mon 6th – Sat 25th August 2018


Hugh Kapernaros

at 10:55 on 19th Aug 2018



Watching 'The Departure Date' is like being transported back to the 70s. No, not the time of disco, flares and cocaine: the time of sexism and tacky slapstick comedy. The time when dudes drink beer and regret not having “more sex with birds” on their death bed. The time when female identity is restricted to the holy trinity of misogyny: the bitch, the slut and the un-sexable nerd, their only function to alternately gratify and challenge the bumbling male’s sexual fantasies and existential crises.

Unfortunately, all this manifested in 2018 in an upstairs room of the Radison Blu, in an aggressively out-dated 40 minutes of sitcom-theatre that leaves you wondering how someone managed to completely sleep through second-wave feminism and a world that turned on Seinfeld.

The show is built around Dave, the (supposedly) 30 year old average-joe who’s ambivalent realisation of impending death incites a rush for sex by any means necessary. The character has all the self-possession of Woody Allen and all the awkwardness of Mark from the Peep Show, but with neither of their intelligence and endearing wit. His best mate simulates drinking beers, despite literally having a bottle opener on hand, and proudly announces he “stopped caring in 1996!”. His sister wears mini-skirts and rants about pretending to like Match of the Day, because men like football and women like shopping, apparently. His nerdy gal-pal obviously dotes on him, but (spoiler alert!) won’t be realised as a potential sexual partner until she metaphorically takes her glasses off. In short, the characterisation is a stream of cliches - overdone throughout decades of two-dimensional gender-based comedy that one would have hoped to have been put to bed long ago.

The acting, while not awful, is let down by poor comedic timing and little on-stage chemistry. There’s little room for the performers to put forth any sense of individuality or likability because they’re so tightly squeezed into character tropes. Their lack of chemistry meant that the occasional moments of good writing weren’t even able to land properly. It was awkward.

I don’t doubt a generational gap. The show drew out quite a few guffaws from a predominantly older crowd, but had a young audience member in the front row literally fall asleep.

There is still a place in this world for old-school, slapstick comedy. But if you’re going to do it, it needs to be fresh, it needs to be current, and it can’t just be a regurgitation of sexist jokes from old British TV shows. In short, it needs to be good. This, unfortunately, wasn’t.


Rowan Evans

at 11:33 on 19th Aug 2018



‘Departure Date’ styles itself as a sit-com of sorts. A desperate, pathetic man who has one day left to live, surrounded by an ensemble of wild, eccentric characters: there is a chance that this idea could hold some comedic potential.

Yet I did not laugh during ‘Departure Date’. Instead, I found myself sighing at more or less regular intervals. The first issue with this play was it’s out-of-touch sensibilities: it seemed as if it was inexplicably stuck in another era.

You could clearly tell the show was written by a man. This came across in the fact that every woman character was a horrible stereotype: a prostitute thief; a bossy sister; the detached business type; a nerdy girl head over heels for the male lead. “Of course,” I found myself thinking on the regular.

As if that was not enough, sexist jokes littered the course of the production. The men loved their beer, and the women existed to ruin their fun.

The sit-com imitation only drew attention to how inept the play was. It reminded me of a bad Peep Show. Alarms particularly rang when the lead said, “Chance would be a fine thing”.

The narrative was not believable in the least. It was laughable how little David - the main character – reacted to finding out he was dying. The moment he opened the letter was both acted and written like a minor inconvenience.

Furthermore, none of his friends seemed to care either. Maybe that was the point, but that point was lost in overacted farce.

The main character was an awful man. He had no redeemable qualities and I felt it insulting that any of the other characters were bothering with him.

For a full priced show, the whole thing was distinctly amateurish. The props were basic and the acting even more so. There were multiple times I could hear the sound of the actors shuffling and even whispering backstage.

I left feeling disappointed and bewildered. ‘Departure Date’ has fundamental flaws which makes it not worth seeing in its current state.


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