Originally published on A Younger Theatre
Awarded 1 star
Off the back of a run in King’s Head Theatre in London, I Went To a Fabulous Party is no stranger to venues that specialise in nurturing new talent. The party in question is held by Lee (Mark Ota) and Matt (Piers Hunt), a married couple who invite their friends over for one of their usual get-togethers. Old acquaintances and uninvited guests are thrown together to explore a variety of personalities within the gay community. Some get along a little bit too well and some don’t see eye to eye at all, but everyone is lively, lustful and most importantly fuelled by alcohol.
And Davies’ plot is sparse to say the least; to be brutally honest it is entirely barren. The group of seven gay men have a party and chat about their lives, perceptions and experiences. If the production was a panel show where each individual answered questions it would almost make sense, but to dress the measly scraps of a plot up into a fully ripe hour long play doesn’t hold true. The group interaction is interesting – Matt and Lee are married, Chris (Gregory A Smith) harbours unrequited love for Lee, Matt therefore hates Chris. Darren (Luke Kelly) is new in town and brash, Matt and Darren get on, Lee therefore hates Darren. Tom (Stephen Oswald) is newly single and depressed, Paul (Ahd Tamimi) is newly tanned and muscular and Josh (Carlton Venn) is simply new, to the group and the gay scene. But since all this is established within the first 15 minutes, the remainder of the play is defunct.
Director Dan Phillips does use some artistic devices to break up the scenes but these are equally unsuccessful. Every so often the characters break into a dance number with slow motion dance moves and mood lighting. One moment they are disco dancing, the next there is a ballroom sequence, then there is some contemporary ballet to Edith Piaf. It is not entirely clear what purpose this serves apart from an attempt to rekindle the stale acting. Host Matt often pauses the scene to break the fourth wall and voice his opinions on the audience, but these are so uninspiring they may as well not be shared at all.
The acting is not as bad as the overall concept of the play, but is nothing remotely exciting or inspiring. So it is fairly baffling why a prominent off-West End theatre has chosen this as the spearhead of their Edinburgh Fringe contribution. Poor choice indeed.
I Went To A Fabulous Party plays at C too (venue 4) until August 30 as part of the Edinburgh Festival Fringe. For more information, visit the Fringe website.