Tag Archives: Danny Mahoney



Southwark Playhouse



Southwark Playhouse

Reviewed – 11th June 2019



“shortcomings are largely made up for by three exceptional performances from the cast”


S. Asher Gelman notes that polyamory is a subject that’s seldom broached in art, and he’s not wrong. Luckily, his play Afterglow is here to remedy that, following a successful Off-Broadway run in 2017 and 2018, which bravely gives a voice and a platform to an often ignored or stigmatised type of relationship.

Centred around husbands Josh (Sean Hart) and Alex (Danny Mahoney), Afterglow explores the impact that Darius (Jesse Fox) has on their open marriage when their friends-with-benefits arrangement starts to develop into something much heavier with Josh, leaving Alex feeling excluded. The play’s frank attitude towards sex (it opens with a threesome and features a significant amount of full-frontal nudity) allows for a poignant and thought-provoking interrogation of love, intimacy, jealousy, and trust in non-traditional relationships.

Although Gelman’s script doesn’t always feel like it’s taking these themes are far as it could, however, it is well-paced and sporting a heft of relatable and quirky dialogue (for example, a running gag where Josh and Alex refer to their forthcoming surrogate child by the fruit that the foetus is currently the size of). The mechanics of the writing can be a little too obvious, as one character will contrive a reason to leave the stage just so that the other two can remain alone; yet it also never feels like Gelman pulls each thread enough to facilitate a truly satisfying climax. These shortcomings are largely made up for by three exceptional performances from the cast though, as the detail and nuance that their portrayals bring exacerbate the core themes in multifaceted ways. Hart and Mahoney deliver a beautiful domestic intimacy in their scenes together, with Hart in particular embodying Josh with a hugely endearing playfulness – one moment in which Josh mockingly hides from Alex under the pillows of a couch is utterly delightful. Tom O’Brien’s direction utilises instances such as these to excellent effect in fulling fleshing out these characters’ lives.

Libby Todd’s set design is immensely detailed – to the extent that it even features a functioning shower – with just three tables being boundlessly multi-purposed and garnished with a whole deluge of props. If anything, it’s too detailed though, as scene changes felt extraordinarily long with all the table-rearranging and set-dressing that had to take place. This was mired further by the fact that – due to the aforementioned nudity – these transitions also featured the actors having to get dressed and undressed. There was a noted effort to make these scene changes character driven, but they ultimately just felt fiddly and arduous, and subsequently killed the pace of the show.

Overall, Afterglow is a window into a lifestyle that is sorely under-represented and on that basis alone feels vital – it’s just a blessing that the play is also searingly characterful and ruminative too.


Reviewed by Tom Francis

Photography by Darren Bell



Southwark Playhouse until 20th July


Last ten shows reviewed at this venue:
Seussical The Musical | ★★★★ | November 2018
The Funeral Director | ★★★★★ | November 2018
The Night Before Christmas | ★★★ | November 2018
Aspects of Love | ★★★★ | January 2019
All In A Row | ★★ | February 2019
Billy Bishop Goes To War | ★★★ | March 2019
The Rubenstein Kiss | ★★★★★ | March 2019
Other People’s Money | ★★★ | April 2019
Oneness | ★★★ | May 2019
The Curious Case Of Benjamin Button | ★★★★★ | May 2019


Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com


Review of White Fang – 2.5 Stars


White Fang

Park Theatre

Reviewed – 14th December 2017


“Imagination is lacking with the staging as considering this is meant to be up a mountain, it all feels very flat”


White Fang, written and directed by Jethro Compton, is the story of Lizbet, a young Native American girl and her wolf. She is a cold and courageous hunter navigating her outcast place in a society set against her.

The ensemble cast are strong, however the play is predictable in narrative and dramatic clichés. The puppetry has potential but I fear I have been spoilt by seeing Gyre and Gimble’s wolf in The Grinning Man, which is designed and controlled with more characterisation. The stage is also too small for the puppet when accompanied by two puppeteers.

The fierce female friendship between Lizbet (Mariska Ariya) and Curly (Bebe Sanders) is mistaken for love in this story and the romantic elements of the characters’ relationship feel forced. Although they kiss, they do not ever embrace, even facing the threat of death. Sanders is talented but the character is given no back story at all, and the audience know nothing about her except her apparent fondness for Lizbet.

The text includes some witty lines – ‘Learn to drink; or learn to drink less’ and the show is accompanied by beautifully lyrical songs (Gavin Whitworth) with intricate harmonies (lovely bass from Paul Alberton). Lighting is nicely done (Julian McCready) and hints at the vast coldness of the Canadian wilderness. Some sound effects (Juan Coolio) are overly synthetic in the space, particularly the whistling wind and wolves howling off-stage.

The set of the cabin (Jethro Compton) is a stark and bare refuge from the cold that fits the purpose for the indoor action. However, it is so large that only a tiny portion of the stage is left in front for all the outdoor scenes. The noisy brown curtains do not do justice to the landscapes of the programme, and the lack of space and levels mean a huge amount of action (particularly on the floor) is completely lost on me, despite my best neck-craning. Imagination is lacking with the staging as considering this is meant to be up a mountain, it all feels very flat. Just a little height would go a long way.

I hope the company are given the means to expand the play to better portray its surroundings. It needs a stage triple the size and height, with snow and ice to really portray the ‘arctic black’. It would make a wonderful outdoor show, connecting us with the cruel winter it currently struggles to present on-stage. Snow was disappointingly absent, particularly as it is present through all the programme images.

White Fang has promise but the staging unfortunately lets it down.


Reviewed by TheatreFox

Photography by Jethro Compton



White Fang

is at the Park Theatre until 13th January 2018



Click here to see more of our latest reviews on thespyinthestalls.com