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Far from credible and really rather poorly written, Zach Braff’s much hyped - and supposedly darkly comic - off Broadway offering is cruelly exposed on the West End stage.

Four ill-assorted individuals, all of whom (for various reasons revealed in videoed flashbacks) feel the need to reinvent themselves, are thrown together in a deserted Long Beach Island summerhouse in the middle of winter. 

Suicidal Charlie (Braff) celebrating his 35th birthday with a noose around his neck, neurotic British realtor, Emma (desperate for a green card) who disturbs him, glue-sniffing Myron who subsidises his fireman’s salary as the local drug supplier; and $15,000 a night hooker Kim (an expensive gift to cheer up the birthday boy) – they all want to say goodbye to their old selves and troubled pasts.

The setup is awkwardly contrived, and things don’t improve as Braff shoehorns in feeble jokes and half-baked philosophies over 90 often embarrassing minutes.

Paul Hilton’s disreputable fire-fighter runs rings round the rest of the cast, but even he can’t salvage this ill-judged effort which will surely disappoint both the fans drawn by Braff’s success with Garden State and Scrubs and anyone else in search of an entertaining night out.

Duke of York’s, St Martin’s Lane, WC2N 4BG
Tube: Charing Cross / Leicester Square
Until April 28
£15 - £49.50
allnewpeople.co.uk

- Louise Kingsley


Talkback


Theatre review: All New People
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