Tag Archives: Stuart Matthew Price



Southwark Playhouse Borough

BEFORE AFTER at Southwark Playhouse Borough


“Director Georgia Rankcom steers the show deftly through its ninety minutes, not allowing it to drag, and the overall show claims a unique quality”

From the moment Ben and Ami meet on a hillside we know we are looking out onto a lush, Romcom landscape. A warm glow washes over us as the filmic, easy-listening chords are plucked from the piano, cello and guitar accompaniment. The dialogue is snappy and the premise is quirky. The delivery is faultless and at the same time effortless. We hope we are going to be jolted out of our comfort zone, but instead of being challenged, we allow ourselves simply to be drawn into the story. Which is a delight, in no small way due to the polished performances of Jacob Fowler and Grace Mouat.

The chance meeting on the hillside is preordained. Ben and Ami have both been here before. Ami remembers everything but Ben is a blank canvas. The backstory is revealed swiftly enough, and it is now up to the couple to piece together their second chance at a happy ending. Ben has the disadvantage. He remembers nothing of their past relationship due to amnesia caused by a car accident just at the point things were starting to go horribly wrong with them. Ami decides not to reveal their past together, leading him on for too long. Her reasons are slightly implausible, but a necessary device to stoke the narrative with the tension it needs.

The story swings back and forth from the present to the past, each episode giving us more insight into the ‘before’ and ‘after’ relationship. There are the usual pitfalls, jealousies and arguments, but Timothy Knapman’s crisp and often witty text give them a fresh makeover, and Fowler and Mouat pitch the characterisation with a relaxed authenticity. They are both highly watchable and in fine voice throughout. Refreshingly no amplification is used, and the balance is spot on as the couple project over the trio of musicians. There is a chamber music quality that allows Stuart Matthew Prices’ lyrics to reach us, unfiltered and crystal clear.

There is a comfortable predictability and solutions become a bit oversimplified, that we long for more hazards, or twists, to trip us up. Similarly, the score drives along at a safe rate with few gear changes. Nevertheless, there is much to enjoy, not least the chemistry between our two lovebirds. Director Georgia Rankcom steers the show deftly through its ninety minutes, not allowing it to drag, and the overall show claims a unique quality. During the moments of dialogue, we look forward to the next musical number, and during the songs we look forward to the next spoken scene. In no way a criticism of either, it is testament to the fine balance and connection between lyricist, composer and writer. Scenes mould seamlessly into song and vice versa, just as past and present intertwine as though in a well-choreographed waltz. Lines are echoed and repeated, taking on a new meaning depending in which time zone they are spoken.

Originally produced at the same venue during lockdown as a live streamed rehearsed reading, the reception back then was one of eager anticipation for the show to be fully realised on the stage. That was before, and this is after. The show feels as though it is still somewhere in the middle, and there is still another ‘after’ to come. A central premise of the musical is the question that asks, ‘is what comes after better than before’. This revival affirms the positivity that the story reflects, and we look forward to it standing the test of time.

BEFORE AFTER at Southwark Playhouse Borough

Reviewed on 9th February 2024

by Jonathan Evans

Photography by Danny Kaan



Previously reviewed at Southwark Playhouse venues

AFTERGLOW | ★★★★ | January 2024
LIZZIE | ★★★ | November 2023
MANIC STREET CREATURE | ★★★★ | October 2023
THE CHANGELING | ★★★½ | October 2023
RIDE | ★★★ | July 2023
HOW TO SUCCEED IN BUSINESS … | ★★★★★ | May 2023
STRIKE! | ★★★★★ | April 2023
THE TRAGEDY OF MACBETH | ★★★★ | March 2023
SMOKE | ★★ | February 2023
THE WALWORTH FARCE | ★★★ | February 2023



Click here to see our Recommended Shows page



The cast of The Other Palace’s latest Work In Progress production, Joybubbles have started rehearsals ahead of their public sharing this Saturday 17 June.



The cast is led by Jonathan Slinger (Charlie and The Chocolate Factory, Urinetown) as Joybubbles with Evelyn Hoskins (Carrie, Spring Awakening) as Little Joe supported by: 

Esh Alladi, Emma Thornett, Ben Fox, Ceri-Lyn Cissone, Terence Frisch, Julie LeGrand andStuart Matthew Price.


Tickets are £7.50 for the public sharing of Joybubbles via:





The Other Palace’s Work in Progress series offers productions a space to create, develop and explore their work. Each show has a public sharing where audiences can be the first not only to see the new work but also help in the development of the show by offering feedback and opinion. The audience feedback is then given to the production to help inform the next stage of the project’s development.

Joybubbles is the third Work In Progress production at The Other Palace, it follows Heathers, The Musical and Dr Feelgood which took place in June. The Work In Progress series continues with Bonnie & Clyde from Mon 26 Jun and finishes with Pitch Perfects The Little Beasts, the biggest of our Work In Progress productions, opening in our main theatre in July.