Theatre / Bristol Ferry Boats

Review: Happily… Never…. After (Return Journey)

By aphra evans, Friday Jun 16, 2017

The wedding reception from hell set sail with bruised egos, broken hearts and bewildered guests on board.

Staged aboard Bristol Ferry Boats’ Matilda, Darkstuff Productions’ immersive theatre show Happily… Never… After was a raucous affair wrought with tension – and missing a bride.

The party ploughed on regardless, with overzealous wedding planner Chloe (Megan Pickup) at its helm, but once the drinks began to flow disasters came one after the next: the schedule was torn to pieces, the names on the cake were wrong, and the toilet soon out of order.

Guests and gatecrashers alike began to air their dirty laundry over the microphone, and everything culminated in a mess of gin, tears and karaoke.

Stealing the show was best man Ross (Tom Turner), who compensated for his childhood chubbiness by bullying Patrick (Stuart Chapman), the doddery, easily-wound-up friend who thought he should have been best man.

Sarah (Jasmine Atkins-Smart), a gatecrasher there to enjoy the ride, provided the outsider’s perspective through which we, the guests, slowly learned the complicated pasts of everyone on board.

As for unsung heroes, it’s tough to choose between Clint (Simon Harvey-Williams, also – with Phil John – the show’s co-scriptwriter) the abandoned groom who spent most of the show looking sorry for himself, or The Sapphire Experience (Dan Greensmith), nestled in the corner, a vision in a purple silk shirt, where he provided music and comic relief to great effect using his Casio’s preset demo backing tracks.

The show even came with original compositions, one of which I was still humming the morning after. Below is an excerpt – sang by Ross to Chloe, whom he’d jilted at the altar just a few years previously:

We could’ve been magpies of love (magpies of love)
One is for sorrow, two is for joy…

Happily… Never… After took place on board Bristol Ferry Boats’ Matilda from June 11-15. For more from Darkstuff Productions, visit


Read more: Preview: Happily… Never… After

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