Butter Side Up Theatre Company’s Last Night of Freedom – 24 February 2023, Library Theatre

Review by Jacob Bush.

Last Night of Freedom is a new play written by Sian Meredith following the events of a stag do and hen night happening consecutively. Luke and Vicky, with their clipboards and detailed plans, work hard to keep the bride and groom separate and chaos and hilarity unfolds.

Sian Meredith’s script is outstanding. It is hilarious with moments of deeper emotions scattered throughout. It is also very relatable – everyone will be able to see themselves in at least one character. The characters can feel a little two dimensional but they are given just enough development to stop them from becoming entirely caricatures.

Meredith also directs the production. On the whole, she keeps the piece moving. Despite minimal set and lighting effects, it is almost always very clear where we are. Some scene transitions are a little slow but this can be expected on an opening night.

Meredith and her team have assembled a brilliant cast for this play. Jonathan Hurd plays Paul, the groom. He is very enjoyable and holds the stags together very well. Amy Longbottom takes on the role of Laura, the bride, and she is a joy to watch. She is full of energy and her comic timing is on point throughout. Michael Hudson and Liza Dacre-Pearson are great as the uptight best man and maid of honour Luke and Vicky. They play very well opposite each other and it is a shame that we don’t get to see them play opposite each other more. They keep the piece grounded and moving, whilst also getting moments to showcase their comic timing and having a handful of more tender moments.

Becky Cleary as Liz is great fun, as is Andrew Wilkinson as Peter. Robert Place has a great chemistry with Cleary as Ivan – it’s a shame their relationship doesn’t get explored more. Charlie Lloyd gives a strong performance as Kieran who is on the pull (although he’s the one character who never really has a deep relationship with any of the rest of the cast). Connor Varley is lovely as Daniel, and his chemistry with Hudson is believable and beautiful. Michael Winrow completes the cast as Kit and he portrays the new dad very well – he has some lovely tender moments throughout.

Last Night of Freedom is great fun. It has a strong cast and a funny script and it is definitely a show not to miss. There is a lot of life left in this play and I very much hope it gets a future, longer life.

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