Jon—Abhin Galeya—is a bit of a dick. He’s also thinking about leaving, which kicks off a series of self-sustaining Chinese whispers in Magne van den Berg’s Big Aftermath Of A Small Disclosure. Alice Malin’s production is a timely reminder of the destructive power of hearsay and gossip – fake news, as it’s now known.
Why don’t they simply sit down together and talk it all out, one might ask. Well this group of four friends eventually do, only to reveal all the secrets that shadow this otherwise pleasant quartet. Jon and Louise—a powerfully neurotic turn by Wendy Kweh—have history. Husband Johan—Sam Callis—is desperate not to offend, and Sjon—a believably nervy Mark Weinman—deliberately stirs things up in an insecure attempt to feel included.
The beauty in this show is in the little white lies, the nondescript snippets of half-truth that cause a relationship to irreparably break apart. Such unjustified specifics are falsely interpreted with misplaced confidence. Sociologically, van den Berg pens a fascinating observation in societal self-destruction.
But theatrically, the production is a sprint rather than a marathon – it quickly builds up a powerful momentum that is inevitably too difficult to sustain. In the play’s aftermath, the atmosphere is present, but the intrigue is lost.