An acutely observed but tender-hearted account of relationships and behaviour in the 80s, State Theatre Company South Australia presents Andrew Bovell’s knockout comedy, After Dinner in the Dunstan Playhouse from 11 April 2018.
Get ready to party like it’s 1989. After Dinner follows five eccentric lonely hearts in a 1980s pub bistro. Paula, Dympie and Monika are primped, preened and ready to rumble, they are up for anything and, perhaps, anyone. Except that is for Stephen and Gordon, the alpha male and nerdy no-hoper at the table next to them. Over the course of the night bad dance moves are on display, friendships are tested and the map of the human heart is crisscrossed.
Marking its 30th anniversary this year, Andrew Bovell’s 1988 breakthrough production features beautifully observed characters and funny one-liners. “Things have changed a lot since the 1980’s. Then, we used to go out to pubs to meet someone on a Friday night,” says Bovell. ” Now there’s Tinder and Grindr. But what hasn’t changed is our need to connect. This is a play about looking for love and/or sex and getting it very wrong.”
“As a rule in the theatre, if you think you’ve been too offensive or have gone too far, it is often worth going a little further. I still blush at just how far I went in After Dinner. I’ve seen people falling out of their chairs laughing at this play. I’ve seen people wet their pants. I think we see ourselves in these five characters. I think we see just how insecure and uptight and desperate and hilarious we all are.”
Corey McMahon (1984) directs a stellar cast including Nathan Page (Miss Fisher’s Murder Mysteries, The 39 Steps), Jude Henshall (Mr Burns, A Post-Electric Play, Comedy of Errors), Elena Carapetis (Summer of the Seventeenth Doll), Ellen Steele (Angelique, Girl Asleep) and Rory Walker (The Popular Mechanicals). With costume and set design by the award-winning Jonathon Oxlade (Girl Asleep) and a pumping ‘80s soundtrack, After Dinner promises to be a night of nostalgia, dancing and big belly laughs.
“After Dinner is a remarkable first play by one of our most important playwrights,” says McMahon. “It’s incredibly funny, touching and poignant. It’s a very human story about loneliness and our need for a sense of belonging and of being loved. Andrew’s characters are all beautifully drawn and the comedy perfectly pitched. I can’t wait to get started! I dare say we’ll laugh as much in the rehearsal room as the audience will in the theatre!”
Andrew Bovell is an award-winning writer for theatre, film and television. His AWGIE award-winning play Speaking in Tongues has been seen throughout Australia as well as in Europe and the US, adapting it for the screen as Lantana. Both the play and screenplay have been published by Currency along with After Dinner, Holy Day, Scenes from a Separation (written with Hannie Rayson), When the Rain Stops Falling and Who’s Afraid of the Working Class? written with Patricia Cornelius, Melissa Reeves, Christos Tsiolkas and Irene Vela.
“A light comedy, sure, but this is no souffle. After Dinner sends you home feeling full and satisfied.” – Sydney Morning Herald
Director: Corey McMahon Featuring: Elena Carapetis, Jude Henshall, Nathan Page, Ellen Steele, Rory Walker Set & Costume Designer: Jonathon Oxlade Lighting Designer: Nigel Levings Sound Design: Andrew Howard Assistant Director: Alira McKenzie-Williams
Dunstan Playhouse – Adelaide Festival Centre, King William Road, Adelaide
Season: 11 – 29 April 2018
Information and Bookings: www.statetheatrecompany.com.au
Image: Jude Henshall stars in After Dinner – photo by James Hartley