Review: Four Sunsets at Reading Fringe

Sophie Smith
Four Sunsets

Four Sunsets | Thursday 20 July | Penta Hotel

Rating: *****

Four Sunsets, from the Swindon-based TS Theatre, follows four female friends to Bali for a celebration birthday trip that tests their relationships. In this two-night production for the Reading Fringe Festival, they drink a lot, they dance a lot, they swear, laugh and have a great time. It’s a humorous show about friendship, strong women and secrets.

Peter Hynd’s script introduces us to four developed, individual women: the leader and birthday girl Ella (Ella Thomas), the innocent but sweet Jodie (Jodie Potter), opinionated and defiant Laura, (Laura James), while Becci (Becci Smith) likes to flirt and dance and drink the most. It’s a group that have been friends for a long time and the four actresses portray this with ease. The quick dialogue back and forth between them, the quips and jokes, make it feel like you’re sitting with a group of friends rather than observing.

We open with the four women, discussing the holiday so far over wine, what they still want to do and, importantly, the night before – which most of them can’t really remember.

The play flashes between scenes of the present in Bali and life in the past, where Ella has supported her friends. This builds up the strength within their relationship and maps out some context. The flashback device allows us to be part of these deep moments of friendship and the group dynamic, but it is clear it’s building to something.

Here comes a twist, which we’re not spoiling, don’t worry. But it leaves relationships to be tested, feelings to be re-considered and for the audience to re-examine what we’ve already seen.

The audience were at ease throughout the play, laughing with every joke and giving rapturous applause at the end of the show. Each of the cast were very strong, sharing a real sense of emotion to the audience. It’s a 90-minute production, which is on the longer side for Fringe shows this year, but at no point did it feel like that was too long, with Peter Hynd’s script keeping the action tight and engaging.

Four Sunsets is full of strong, funny women. There are well-acted characters, laughs, thoughtfulness and a good time. See this play.

Four Sunsets is at Penta Hotel on Saturday 22nd at 3.30pm, tickets £10. Buy tickets.

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