WhatsOnStage Logo

All New People - Full of Old Ideas

WhatsOnStage logo
When I reviewed Zach Braff's All New People during its Manchester try out run last month, I was flabbergasted at how bad the play was. Yet all around me there were polite pens being pushed - all claiming "well it's for a young audience and it's quite funny." Nobody really pointed out that if this production was by an unknown - it would have never have seen the light of day.

Braff is a likeable actor and writer but his Hollywood star alone and sheer force of his exuberant personality is not enough to save this sorry play and thankfully, West End critics agreed. I received a few angry emails from disgruntled fans - full of expletives - following the review. But I presume there are too many people in London to write to - for this stunt to be repeated.

I love seeing new work and anything which is experimental is fine by me. After all, witnessing someone pushing the envelope is why many of us attend the theatre in the first place. But when we have excellent venues in Manchester such as the studios at the Royal Exchange and the Lowry and Contact - it does kind of put Braff's effort firmly in the shade.

Star vehicles are all well and good as seats sell on the back of them. Look at Up for Grabs at the Wyndhams in London - a few years back with Madonna for proof. But if the play is supposed to be the thing then then give me unknowns, as in this case there's nothing for Braff to hang his jokes onto - and he wrote the piece.

Many people have written that critics are out of touch and cannot relate to the play because it's aimed at a much younger audience than the people writing about it. But to me, this is no excuse for lame writing, lazy narrative devices and screeching performances.

The implication here is - if you're young - you have no critical facalties and I don't honestly think this is the case. Sure - super fans will defend the play as they have paid good money to see a comedy idol on stage. But if they are honest, will they remember All New People in five years time?

Tagged in this Story