Swing By Around 8

Ayckbourn fans will love this comedy of manners from Durham University’s Fourth Wall Theatre. Matt and Katherine decide to spice up their troubled relationship by inviting another couple to join in their sex life. Or that’s the plan anyway. Things don’t quite work out as expected when Amelia and Elliot turn up without appearing to have the faintest idea what they’ve been invited to and so begins a hilariously awkward dinner party with a giant orgy-shaped elephant in the room.

An apt, contemporary comedy that draws out the humour of our most undignified moments and finds hilarity in the stupid decisions we make in the pursuit of happiness.

With spot on comic timing, the actors create a bubbling undercurrent of suspense which becomes almost unbearable. Hemmed into a very tight corner, the action is largely static but they cope well by relying on making the most of precise gestures, tense facial expressions and well-paced witty punchlines.

Matt and Katherine are typically privileged Y-generation kids preoccupied by Jamie Oliver recipes, iTunes playlists and laying the table correctly. The piece imagines what would happen if a young, middle class couple were to find themselves hideously out of their depth, trying to have an orgy. The results are uproariously funny and we are kept guessing for an answer to the final outcome up until the very last minute. Posh and conceited Amelia gets progressively more drunk as the terrible evening continues and each time she has an outburst we think this is the time when the truth will be revealed. Each time it isn’t, the tension cranks up a notch and Katherine’s disappointment at still being in the dark is mirrored by the audience.

The behaviour of Amelia and Elliot becomes intensely interesting as we try to guess what they’re thinking. We’ve never seen them on their own together so can’t be certain we’ve got it right. Elliot is brilliantly smarmy and flirtatious but is he just having a bit of fun with Katherine? Amelia seems totally bored by the whole evening and starts talking about insurance.

The ridiculous neuroses of the characters and their total (very British) inability to express their thoughts are expertly portrayed by the cast whose performances are brilliantly observed and impeccably naturalistic. The resulting farcical misunderstanding that occurs when a policeman turns up is very well done, his self-righteous sincerity not broken for a moment as, mistaking him for a stripper, drunk Amelia writhes all over him.

Swing by Around 8 is an apt, contemporary comedy that draws out the humour of our most undignified moments and finds hilarity in the stupid decisions we make in the pursuit of happiness. 

Reviews by Lettie Mckie

Udderbelly Festival

Austentatious: An Improvised Jane Austen Novel

★★★★★
The Vaults

Skin A Cat

★★★★★
The Vaults

Underground

★★★★
Orange Tree Theatre

The Rolling Stone

★★★★★
Charing Cross Theatre

Piaf

★★
London Theatre Workshop

Through The Mill

★★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £600,000 to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Matt and Katherine are stuck in a relationship rut. The spark is fading fast and in a misguided attempt to reignite it, they decide to host a somewhat unconventional dinner party. However once their guests actually arrive, it becomes apparent that there's been a small but crucial misunderstanding regarding the party's real raison d'être. Hilarity, innuendoes and awkward silences ensue in this insightful, Ayckbourn-esque domestic comedy nominated for every award at the Durham Drama Festival 2015. 'Had all of the audience laughing wholeheartedly at almost every line and every perfectly timed awkward silence' (Palatinate.org.uk).

Most Popular See More

Wicked

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Book of Mormon

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Life of Pi

From £19.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £13.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Mary Poppins

From £31.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £18.00

More Info

Find Tickets