Runtime: 140 mins Director: Peter DuBois Writer: Zach Braff Starring: Zach Braff, Paul Hilton, Eve Myles and Susannah Fielding
I know what you are asking, why am I writing a review about a play?
Well I will tell you why, it’s not very often I go to the theatre but when you hear Zach Braff is coming to Manchester you have to answer the call. All New People is a play written by Braff, which originally was staged on Broadway starring Justin Bartha (Hangover). After mesmerizing over Garden State 8 years ago I have always been excited about Braff’s writing ability and projects. During the middle of winter, in a luxurious apartment on Long Beach Island , Charlie (Zach Braff) has hit rock bottom on his 35th birthday, he intends to kill himself. Away from the rest of the world, this perfect escape is interrupted by a random collection of misfits who show up and change his plans. A escort, a fireman, and an eccentric British real estate agent all suddenly find themselves tangled together in a beach house where the mood is anything but sunny, while Charlie just wishes they’d leave and let him get on with it. The plot sounds simple, very similar to Carnage (well having for people in the room that’s it)
Braff knows how to write an amusing piece of dialogue and the opening scene is a masterclass of comedy and leaves you with high expectations, willing him on. As Eve Myles enters on the stage you know that Braff and Myles have a good comical chemistry, they bounce off each other very well. To be honest when Hilton and Fielding also enter the stage you feel the chemistry between the quartet, even though they are complete and utter strangers in the play they all work well together. Braff’s kept the anticipation about why he was going to kill himself very well, but we also get the thrill of discovering the dark pasts of the other three. Loneliness is the main themes of the play, the darkside of comedy works very well with the added mixture of drugs and alcohol. Braff just wants to be left alone through the whole play, but no one will leave. Is it fate or a coincidence that these people turned up before he jumped? Was there a reason they were there? After many funny stories and dark secrets, you realize as a viewer and for them there is always a second chance and any stranger can be your friend. It really is a coming of age story that anyone that has been depressed or lonely can relate to. Even if there is a whole room of people you can still feel lonely, I have been down that road many a time. Braff knows how to connect with an audience, he has proved this with other projects.
Overall I think this is a very good play for the modern day age, especially for this social networking age. Braff has managed to advertise All New People very well, he has very loyal fans and this shows through Twitter and Facebook.But you can really say that 90% of the audience came to see Braff (including myself), which I assume it was anticipated. It was a very good advertising campaign, he has featured an many talk shows, newspapers and radio. This has culminated in sell out shows in Manchester and Glasgow on its way to. DuBois and Braff have cast very good actors to fill in the roles, it is a tremendous team effort and we have no weak links in the cast. It really is a play that works on very funny dialogue and really current jokes, I did enjoy the back-flashes of all the characters it adds an extra dimension to the show as you get a small incite to the characters background. It had many laughs through the whole play, the many re-writes that Braff made to make it a bit more appealing for a British audience worked out very well. I am very excited to go see it again in London in a few months time. But I would highly recommend you go watch it in Glasgow between Tuesday the 14th of February and the 18th of February at The King’s Theatre or in London’s Duke of York Theatre between the 22nd of February and 28th of April. This is a once in a life time opportunity and a very good life lesson.