All New People
All New People

All New People @ King's Theatre

3/5 stars
Review by Adeline Amar.
Published 05 March 2012

There is little doubt that All New People owes a great part of its 'hottest ticket of the season' status to its writer and actor, Zach Braff. A popular appeal to the point where the audience explodes in cheers when the curtain lifts on his character, Charlie, before realising he is standing on a chair with a noose around his neck. That was awkward.

Charlie is in a luxury New Jersey beach house to end his days, but things don’t turn out as planned. He is interrupted by an English real estate agent (Eve Myles), her drama-teacher-turned-fireman-and-drug-dealer boyfriend (Paul Hilton) and a call girl (Susannah Fielding), who simply won’t leave him alone.

The visitors bring with them their share of baggage, and as their own drama unfolds the house loses its impeccable tidiness. As they discuss their delusion, anxiety and loneliness, chairs get tipped over and glass shatters on the floor. The impermeable setting eventually explodes when part of the roof crumbles, forcing the characters to face new beginnings.

While the play may provide good enough entertainment, it also lacks consistency. It tries to do too much and the characters often come across as scattered and one-dimensional. The actors may all be excellent but the delivery feels rushed. Braff is the only one with enough stage presence and comic timing to give Charlie a graspable, believable core, and he easily eclipses the rest of the cast. His excellent monologue is a strong, emotional moment that provides a welcome rest from the theatrical shrieking and throwing-objects-in-the-air.

Furthermore, the characters’ dynamics lack genuine chemistry. When two of the actors share a giggle onstage, the atmosphere suddenly takes a different, human dimension that allows the cast to showcase the strength of the writing. Ironic that a play about loneliness would be held back by a lack of good old chemistry.