“‘Him’ is unemployed and looking for romance.
‘Her’ works in a dead-end office job and doesn’t know where she’s heading.
They are lonely twenty-somethings, lost amidst the beating rhythm of the city.
After a chance meeting, they spend the night together. But can they find the connection they are searching for? Is there hope in this briefest of encounters?”
The Day After, by award-winning young playwright, Miran Hadzic, opened last night in the Cavern in the Vaults at Waterloo. Described as both darkly comedic and romantic, the piece, barely an hour long, covers 24 hours in the lives of two isolated individuals: office-girl and out-of-work bloke. The boy-meets-girl scenario is told in a combination of rhyme and present tense, giving the effect of vocalised thought bubbles.
The play is a snapshot into the lives of two individuals who admittedly have not had that much time on the planet, let alone in London, to be able to establish where they are coming from and where they are headed, yet already have accumulated a series of unhappy memories; their painful pasts emerge gradually as the piece unfolds, further underlining their sense of isolation and need for comfort.
There is a sense of ballad, with verse and refrain; the whole being driven by fast-paced dialogue and action sustaining rhythm and rhyme. High quality acting is brought out by Juliet Knight’s energetic direction: Todd James’s rueful self-criticism, Ruby Thomas’s mournful recollections of schoolday trials and tribulations are both naturally paced and expressed.
Most of all, however, the play could read as an ode to London: there are sights and sounds, motion and emotion – and above all, sounds: further aided by the occasional rumble from overhead trains, that do service as a heartbeat, a distant roll of thunder, even as a giant hand, knocking at the door…
The Vault is the perfect venue for a play of this calibre: stark, yet warm, with the smell of earth and raw yet perfect acoustics to tickle the senses with; this is both perfect sounding box and dramatic arena, inviting speculation and imagination to take a ride.
The Day After runs until 1st February. For bookings and more information: The Vaults: The Day After