Afternoon Tea – A Review

I’m not a theatre critic as you can probably tell but I do like the theatre. An so it was that I went to see a play in Manchester City centre on Saturday evening.

Afternoon Tea, a short play written by Lindsay Kernighan was performed at the Taurus Bar in Canal Street in Manchester. The basement of the bar had been transformed into a small 50 seater theatre – an intimate setting for  a uniquely intimate play.

On descending to the basement theatre – we were met with a tea room setting. Walking past the actors – you immediately had a sense of attention to detail that would make this short play interesting. As the actors nibbled on their cakes – my appetite for a good performance was whetted.

I was not disappointed. This was the last of 4 performances and it was clear that the actors and the director had established themselves and were comfortable in the setting and their roles. The writing was sharp and observational and at the same time had a touch of surrealism – like Father Ted without the priests – Mrs Doyle would not have been out of place serving her tea sandwiches and goading with a few go-ons

For me – the main thrust of the story was the young girl /old guy couple – struggling to find common ground and although the plot thread was clichéd to an extent – it was well performed and believable. The other couple – a two well heeled ladies of lunches who have a good old gossip – was nicely interwoven. I particularly liked the character of the “old guy” – William – whom having managed to catch himself a 25-years-younger female was aptly demonstrating that he was not satisfied by admiring himself having caught the eye of a presumably even younger checkout assistant in Tesco… You knew this would end with a soaking!

The performance of the ladies was engaging as it was funny. Clearly the actors were comfortable and the banter and the gestures led to a sharp and comical interpretation of the roles. “Making a dozen sweaters out of her mop” – nicely delivered.

The story was lightweigth – I didnt lose any sleep  – but it wasnt meant to change hearts – only make sure you’d enjoyed your visit.  I did.

The 35 minutes went by far too quickly and for me and the rest of the audience enjoyable. I’d go back again and I ended up staying in the bar for some food and some nicely poured Leffe Blond. As an evening – well it was memorable, enjoyable and I’d recommend them went they go back to the Buxton Fringe..

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