Theatre Review - Out of Season

Neil D’Souza, Peter Bramhill and James Hillier in Out of Season [The Other Richard]

NEIL D’Souza’s gentle comedy explores the experiences of two middle-aged men who try to relive their youth on holiday in Ibiza.

Former band members Chris (Peter Bramhill) and Dev (D’Souza) have booked into the 2-star hotel they stayed in 30 years previously. It’s on the touristy side of the island; karaoke, naff cocktails and drunken arguments by the pool are in plentiful supply.

Dev lectures in music, Chris teaches TEFL. Both men are single, childless and avoid too much self-scrutiny. They’re there to celebrate Chris’s 50th birthday and he’s brought his travel guitar. They are as out of season as the island.

On the first night, Chris goes out on the pull, but Dev prefers to nurse his bad back and read Thomas Mann. Chris returns in the early hours with Holly (Kerry Bennett) in tow and they are later joined by her friend Amy (Catrin Aaron).

The dynamics change in the second half when third band member, Michael (James Hillier), now a smug music manager, joins them on the last day and starts snorting cocaine and ordering magnums of Champagne.

Drawing on his own experiences of growing up in the 80s and 90s as a British Asian, several of D’Souza’s observations are spot-on. He shows how quickly male banter can descend into something more vicious; how slights become wounds. He’s also good on male regret, the unspoken desire for intimacy and outgrowing one’s friends.

The comedy is uneven but well served by polished performances and Alice Hamilton’s assured direction. I also loved Janet Bird’s detailed set, which includes the hint of an en-suite and a concrete balcony.

The hotel room is evocative with tacky furniture, a cheap Picasso print, and two inseparable single beds bolted together to make a double, while Harry Blake’s sound design suggests the party is always happening elsewhere.

Until March 23

Originally published by Camden New Journal