REVIEW: SOPHIE, BEN, AND OTHER PROBLEMS (Tabard Theatre) ★★★
This inaugural production by fledgling theatre company The After School Club is to be applauded the new writing by Conor Burke, who co-stars in the piece alongside producer Dylan Morris, fizzes along with cracking wit and awkward comedy based around contemporary young love, that gives way to poignant moments throughout , and an unexpectedly moving end that affected the audience.
The unlikely coupling of a pretty cool chick with a naïve geek produces at times belly laughs, alongside silent empathy.
Insightfully directed by up and coming all rounder Toby Laurence, the cast make the most of the small theatre space, portraying believable location changes and leaps in time as we chronicle the pair’s ultimately untimely brief relationship.
It was a shame that the A/V occasionally let the cast down in places – the well chosen soundtrack was distracting from the dialogue, and it was slightly disconcerting for the audience to enter the space in complete darkness and finding our seats by flashlight. Though as this was a preview these teething problems can be forgiven as I am sure they will be rectified for the run.
One criticism would be that the story arc went by at too much of a pace and occasionally the time leaps were hard to follow, however the show is by necessity a one hour, one act play as it has been created in part for an Edinburgh festival audience. Next stop the Assembly Rooms which is also an achievement for such a young creative team.
Overall it is a well observed, entertaining piece of writing with pathos and I predict great things from this company in the not too distant future.
Reviewed by Nicole Faraday