Review: After We Danced @ Old Joint Stock Theatre

After We Danced was very well received during its run at Edinburgh Festival, so it was not a surprise to see a healthy audience during its first show at the Old Joint Stock Theatre.

The play by Andew Moseley concerns the lives and loves of Fran and Finn, two young people who had a near perfect summer together.

In 1952, Finn has just finished his national service and is spending one final summer before adulthood forces its way in with all of its responsibilities and lack of freedom. It is here that he meets Fran, who is equally looking for something more. Her life with an over-protective father is not enough for her.

When they meet, it is a relationship that will change both of their lives, but not in the way that the audience may expect. After their parting, it is another 50 years before they meet again, and life and the compromises they have had to make has worn them both down.

The set is simple and the lighting and sound by Emma Burton evokes both the 1950’s post-war gloom and more modern times, where the families of both Fran and Finn are making themselves known. The scenes switch between the central couple’s youth and their wedding reception, where now old and clearly still in love they are seeking to make up for lost time.

This is a play about the massive chasm between reality and what might have been. The supporting cast is particularly well drawn, with Andrew Jefferson Tierney’s Brad scene-stealing as the drunk and insufferable son-in-law, while the performances of Rosie Bennett as Fran and Samuel Freeman as Finn was both natural, warm, and full of both joy and pathos.

I won’t spoil the twist in the ending of the play, but if you are looking out for a production that has warmth, examines the human condition in a well-defined but unsentimental way, with some fine lines and performances from talented actors, then this could be the new play for you.

The writing, and the story are strong enough that I would hope that this play would have a place in the repertoire of many acting companies across the country.

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