There is something exciting about hitting the town on a Thursday night to enjoy an emotional, heartfelt play with a twist. The Blue Room theatre (a quaint and vibrant venue) was packed with lively, twenty-something creatives and Belated: A Play about Friendship and Forgiveness was right at home in its intimate atmosphere. The tiny space leaves the audience emotionally (and occasionally physically) intertwined with the turbulent dramas of the characters, creating a moving experience for everyone involved.
The play follows the protagonist Blythe (stunningly portrayed by Emily Kennedy), an emotionally scarred and aggressive lead who moves back in with her childhood friend Max (Peter Lane Townsend) after a messy breakup with her girlfriend. Max’s girlfriend Norah (Maja Liwszyc) not only has a range of issues with Blythe, but also can’t comprehend the departure of her father nine years earlier.
The play moves between two settings; one current and the other a flashback from one year earlier. Between these two settings, we learn the harrowing truth behind what happened to Norah’s father, and how and why Blythe is in such a state.
Whilst at first Blythe is particularly hard to come to terms with due to her abrasive manner and particular fondness for booze, drugs and words beginning with ‘f’, the play skillfully guides the audience along her journey and softens her harsh edge. The work also incorporates the other characters well, and the small cast meant that each character was accessible on an emotional level.
The play’s triumph was its ability to create an incredible atmosphere which added another level to the already intriguing plot. The intimacy of the space meant that the production felt like a voyeuristic experience; peering in on another’s life. When Blythe yells and slams down a cup of vodka you feel it in your feet, and when she lights a cigarette after a stressful encounter you are surrounded by the smell of musty cigarette smoke (asthmatics proceed with caution). Not only are you watching the play, you are living it.
Afterwards, the lively crowd assembled outside for nibbles and drinks and were joined by the cast and crew, who were quickly swept up in a flurry of congratulatory drinks and people singing their praises. The atmosphere amidst the Cultural Centre was fun and youthful, as the drinks poured and the play was celebrated for its great success. A true experience – I encourage everyone to enjoy Belated.
Words by Jacqueline Pasich
Belated runs 10-28 May at the Blue Room Theatre. Tickets available here.