The Other End of the Afternoon Review


The Other End of the Afternoon centres around the lives of four teenagers as they grapple with the claustrophobia of living in a world so small.

Brendan McBride, Sam Wallace, and Sam Martin in The Other End of the Afternoon, 2022. Photo by Troy Kent ©

The show begins with Clive, a teenage boy with an affinity for top hats, as he lets the audience in on his theory that some afternoons have another end. He tells us that there are magical afternoons that become portals into the past. There are certain afternoons that could have existed before, in another city, or in another year, and if you could find a way to walk through them you could escape into another life. The rest of the play then reveals why each character becomes compelled to find the other end of the afternoon, the reason they want to leave into the potential of the past.

This play was written and directed by Bokkie Robertson. It was produced as part of the Sydney Fringe Festival and was the recipient of the Silver Gull playwriting award in 2021. Bokkie Robertson effectively created a realistic representation of the voices and relationships of young people. There are lots of intertwining stories around different high school experiences throughout the show. We see Clive and Bianca, the resident ‘cool girl’, as they start to fall in love in history class. We watch Xavier have to deal with the intensity of his first break-up in the same setting where Dylan has to take on responsibilities that only an adult should.

Sophie Teo and Sam Wallace in The Other End of the Afternoon, 2022. Photo by Troy Kent ©

We are brought back to what it was like to be in high school. How our days were made by who we got to sit next to in class, or the distress of being mocked for what we chose to wear. It captures the extent of how big these things feel when our world is so small. How the feeling of being so tightly pushed against the perimeter of our enclosed reality propels the need to escape to the other side of the afternoon.

There were some great performances and lovely moments in this play.

3 Stars.

Kate, 20 [she/her]


“Which is why, if you’re lost, and lonely, you can let here and now slip out of your fingers, and open your eyes in the other end of the afternoon.”
The Other End of the Afternoon carried audiences along a whirlwind of action, comedy, and romance, while simultaneously addressing intense and heartbreaking themes.
Sam Martin in The Other End of the Afternoon, 2022. Photo by Troy Kent ©

Eccentric and free, Bokkie Robertson has created a show that lingered in audience hearts long after the cast took their bow. With magnetic characters and a hilariously upbeat script, the story follows teenage boy Clive, who likes top hats, zucchini, and time travel. In fact, Clive likes time travel so much that he has a whimsical and gently beautiful theory. He believes that on certain special afternoons if you listen closely, you may just be able to hear a whisper of the past or smell the scent of history. If you try really hard to get lost when you’re really lonely, you can find yourself someplace back in time.

Like in most schools, being different, unconventional, and interesting results in being bullied. Especially in Clive’s case, as the popular girl Bianca has taken a particular liking to bully him for wearing a top hat to school. The catch is that Bianca accidentally falls in love with him. Sophie Teo and Sam Wallace gorgeously brought these characters to life and shared electric chemistry with each other. Robertson’s truthful writing allowed these characters to feel well-rounded and loveable, yet also reprimandable.
Thankfully this show avoided the nauseating style of relying on stereotypes and then trying to add depth to the characters by throwing in semi-relatable yet completely unconvincing backstories. No, these characters actually felt real and genuine, with a little bit of artistic liberty and playful flavour added in. Eventually, to the delight of the audience, the two team up and set out to help send classmate Dylan back in time.
Dominique Purdue in The Other End of the Afternoon, 2022. Photo by Troy Kent ©

Dominique Purdue was absolutely heartbreaking as Dylan. Every time she was onstage she enlightened us with her joy and absolutely crushed us with her pain. Sam Martin, who played Clive’s younger step-brother Xavier, also brought an incredible amount of energy to the stage and created a joyfully comedic atmosphere. Composer Ben Bauchet created an absolutely moving and fantastic score. Whenever the music played we felt as though we were being welcomed into a world of wonder and curiosity. Yet, it never took away or distracted from the performers or story.

The chaotically exuberant feeling of this play was balanced with much harsher issues. Tackling serious topics in a comedic play is always a balancing act. Perhaps this was an oversight or deliberate choice, but there was a constant nagging query in the back of my head while watching. Was time travel a metaphor for suicide in this play? And if it was, why did the characters encourage and support Dylan to go back in time? And when she did, why was it celebrated and romanticised? While the time travel symbolism may be unclear, the rest of the play effortlessly mixes drama and comedy together. The pure enjoyment and meaning this show provides are evidence of Robertson’s talent.
Bokkie Robertson is an up-and-coming artist to look out for. Her upbeat wit, matched with her dedicated, high-spirited skill is not something to underestimate – and neither is The Other End of the Afternoon.

4 Stars.

Astra, 16 [she/her]

New Theatre’s The Other End of the Afternoon played at New Theatre from the 14th of September until the 1st of October.