After Today (2 stars)

After Today

TV presenter ruins career through other people's naughty words

Stage d'Or look back at December 1976, when Bill Grundy famously mismanages an interview on live TV with the Sex Pistols. This two-man play finds Grundy in his later years, verbally sparring with the young director of the regional lunchtime television show he is presenting. Between perfect takes for Close Up On Castles, Alex Donald's Grundy spits out bile as he remembers that era-defining moment on the Today show. It's an interesting focus for a theatre piece, and could have a lot to say about the punk movement, what relevance it has today, and what it was that rattled the old guard.

Sadly, this piece becomes too absorbed in trying to impersonate Grundy's cadence and propensity for flowery language to shed any real light on these themes or to grasp at any larger messages. Constant references to Grundy's reliance on alcohol and unrealistic self-image as a gentleman drinker are neither treated as comedy nor with the careful respect that alcoholism deserves.

Ultimately the play feels like a missed opportunity to explore the reality behind a man whose whole life and work became synonymous with the very thing he hated. The play knows it has an interesting topic in its grasp, but just doesn't know how to handle it.

PQA Venues @ Riddle's Court, until 27 Aug (not 15, 21), 3pm, £10–£12.50 (£7.50–£10).

After Today

  • 2 stars

Stage D’Or In this mixture of drama and black comedy, we meet TV presenter Bill Grundy some three years after his profanity-littered, car-crash interview with the Sex Pistols live on teatime TV in 1976. An erudite, driven man, but with a huge self-destructive streak, Bill struggles to keep his career going. He reflects…

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