Gabe Day @ theSpace, Surgeon's Hall
A demented American televangelist minister has declared to his many followers that the world is about to end, so club owners Charlie and Kate do the sensible thing and decide to host an apocalypse-themed night to help reverse the fortunes of their failing student nightclub. Joining them are some friends: a DJ drugged up on some mysterious pill he found in his wallet, and a flaky promotions woman who’s too busy selling out a rival club to do her job. As the evening drags on and the clock ticks down, the end of the world doesn’t seem like that bad an idea.
Gabe Day is, to put it simply, damn good fun. Rory Platt has written a hugely enjoyable, unashamedly populist piece of comedy, with a solid stream of one liners that keep the laughs coming from the small audience. The dialogue flows naturally and avoids feeling try-hard, helped along by strong direction and a very able cast.
The most interesting dynamic comes from the relationship between uptight cynic Charlie (George Ferguson, whose pompous bluster has echoes of David Mitchell) and the more easy-going Kate (Sara Ahmed, the ideal straight woman to the story). The pair snipe and antagonise one another at every possible moment but it’s clear to all that they’re entirely co-dependent on each other. Michael Roderick’s stoned DJ Cooper provides some of the broader laughs, particularly through his increasingly ridiculous texts from a friend, but occasionally feels a little too clownish.
The framing device of the televangelist’s prediction is a fun twist but adds little to the central story since most of the jokes come from the club situation rather than fears for the end of the world, but the ultimate pay-off to that punch-line is sure to elicit a laugh from even the most dour spectator.
There’s nothing particularly ground-breaking about Gabe Day and it feels at least 20 minutes too long, but it’s a strong piece of new comic writing in the tradition of many a great British comedy, and one that deserves an audience. Sometimes, all you need is something to make you laugh, and Gabe Day does that. What more could you ask for?