Peter Quilter’s The Morning After is a very different affair from his better-known works, Glorious! about the life of Florence Foster Jenkins and End of the Rainbow, about Judy Garland. It’s a farcical exploration of how a family copes with a son who wants to get married to his boyfriend.
While Quilter’s original 2012 play was written about a gay couple, a reworked version featuring a straight central relationship has been performed internationally on a regular basis. Understandably, for this revival at Above the Stag, the characters have been switched back to being a gay couple but, frankly, it would take more than just this adjustment to make Quilter’s irredeemably thin, facile play work. As a farce, it lacks precision and genuine laughs are few and far between.
Director Andrew Beckett is no stranger to the intricacies of farce, having successfully directed many comedies and pantomimes at the venue where he is now artistic director. His cast works exceptionally hard to maintain pace but, in the end, it feels as if everybody is having to try too hard to make this weak material work.
David Fenne’s Thomas convincingly conveys the anguish of encountering a family who lack any sense of privacy. Colleen Daley, as pushy mother Barbara, and Matthew Lloyd Davies, as garrulous Uncle Martin, make the best of Quilter’s broad caricatures. Chris Cahill’s Adam is the least manic character, but with a play as slight as this, nobody comes out of it particularly well.