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Review: Departure Lounge and God of Carnage, Bury St Edmunds Guildhall

God of Carnage at the Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds
God of Carnage at the Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds

Bury St Edmunds Guildhall sprang back into life with a bang at the weekend. Judging by this event, Suzanne Stevenson and her team have set the bar high for the future.

On Saturday evening there was an atmosphere of anticipation. The banqueting hall provided a stunning space for the audience to mingle under the portrait of Jankyn Smyth, a great benefactor to the town, who surely would have been delighted to see the Guildhall once again used for the town’s activities.

Departure Lounge at the Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds
Departure Lounge at the Guildhall, in Bury St Edmunds

A packed audience was treated to two plays staged in the intimate atmosphere of the former courtroom.

As the audience took their seats for the first play with music, members of the cast were in character, providing a challenge to Suzanne when introducing the evening.

Departure Lounge is a tale centred around four lads (JB, Pete, Jordan and Roscoe) stuck in a Spanish airport lounge waiting for a delayed flight home and their A level results.

It was a hilarious story of friendship, coming of age and sexuality. For 80 minutes the cast infected the audience with their boundless energy. Songs such as Brits on Tour were delivered faultlessly and with great feeling. Essex girl (Sophie) who was the love interest – or should that be lust interest – interacted brilliantly throughout.

After a short break for refreshments, the second one act play God of Carnage was a picture of the breakdown in relationships as two couples (Veronica, Michael, Annette and Alan) met following their respective sons having had an altercation. This time the audience was treated to a highly-charged atmosphere offset with much humour.

The fate of a hamster at the hands of Michael becoming almost central to the story line was so funny, as was Annette’s destruction of a vase of tulips which will leave the staff picking petals out of the Guildhall’s chandeliers for many a week. Again, as with the first play, the audience applause would not have embarrassed a much larger venue.

For sure, a successful start to this new chapter in the Guildhall’s long history. It certainly bodes well for the future.


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