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Criterion Theatre
After Life (2023)
Written by Jack Thorne
Sat 4th February to Sat 11th February

If you could spend eternity with just one precious memory, what would it be?

Director – Anne-marie Greene
Production Photos
Two – Ted Mcgowan
Three – Karen Evans
Four – Kelly Davidson
Five – Jan Nightingale
Hari Markowitz – Jon Elves
Beatrice Killick – Dawn Morris
Obafemi Taylor – Ryan Morrison
Jill Smart – Talya Rajagukguk
Henry Thompson – Abdenour (Nouri) Beladaci
Otto Bradbury (Filmed) – Richard Overton
Georgie Hanoy (Filmed) – Bernadette Baretto
Graham Jenkins – Simon Brougham
Katie Markowitz (Filmed) – Leonie Slater
Young Beatrice (Filmed) – Alexandra Vickers
Patricia Murphy (Filmed) – Helen Withers
Young Hari Markowitz (Filmed) – Jake Elves
Assistant Director – Georgia Kelly
Stage Manager – Frances Dixon
Projection Design – Elim Arthur Leigh
Set Designer – Elim Arthur Leigh
Set Build i/c – Mandy Sutton
Wardrobe I/C – Linda Holmes
Lighting Designer – Karl Stafford
Sound Designer – Dave Cornish
Set Build – Christopher Hernon
Music Recording – Nicol Cortese
Wardrobe – Pam Coleman
Music Composition – Dwain Daley
Lighting Operator – Paul Harrison
Wardrobe – Maureen Liggins
Film Production – Elim Arthur Leigh
Set Paint – Judy Talbot
Set Paint – Paul Chokran
Sound Compilation – Peter Gillam
Set Build – Mike Waterson
Set Build – Mark Ward
Set Build – Leo Hernon
Set Build – Terry Rahilly
Set Build – Simon Sharpe
Props – Sally Patalong
Props – Bill Young
Props – Erica Young
Sound Operator – Ellen Sharkey
Sound Operator – Dave Cornish
Sound Designer – Anne-marie Greene
Lighting Operator – Paul Harrison
Lighting Operator – Verity Gillam-Greene

"...this production was thoroughly entertaining as well as thought-provoking....brilliantly brought to life by the talented cast"

Elementary Whatson

Read the whole review here 

A group of strangers find themselves in a bureaucratic waiting room between life and death. Encouraged by enigmatic officials, they must sift through their past lives to choose their forever.

Adapted from Hirokazu Kore-eda's award-winning film, After Life is a surreal and powerfully human look at the way we view our lives, and a haunting meditation on what it is to live – and to die.

Written by Jack Thorne (Let the Right One In, Harry Potter and the Cursed Child and for television, Help, Shameless, Skins, and This is EnglandAfter Life was first performed at the National Theatre, London, in June 2021.

Reviews of the Play

'A compelling vision of eternity' The Times

'A powerful show with subtlety and tenderness' The i

'A great idea, charmingly done... Although After Life is based on a film, its best parts are pure theatre' Guardian

'Miraculous... an absolutely superb play... I was incredibly moved by it... a properly transcendent piece of theatre' Time Out 

EDI Assessment

In line with our EDI policy, we undertake an EDI impact assessment of all our artistic programming. ‘After Life’ has no specific diversity message within its narrative. The play can be cast with complete neutrality on race/ethnicity. Parts of its story lend themselves to gender, ethnicity and age specificity in certain roles but this could be open to artistic judgement permitting maximum flexibility to achieve the most diverse cast possible.

As we set off for an evening at the Criterion Theatre we were slightly daunted by the online reviews we had read - the piece sounded rather highbrow and inaccessible.  

Nothing could have been further from the truth - this production was thoroughly entertaining as well as thought-provoking.  Despite the underlying premise - the action takes place in 'a never-world between death and the afterlife' - a sparkling joie de vivre was frequently evident (or should that be ’joie de mourir’?).

A number of varied characters are supported by supposedly objective guides through a week during which they must select a single memory to take into the afterlife.  All of them are brilliantly brought to life by the talented cast as their stories gradually emerge, including those of the guides.

The action is supported by projected scenes from their lives as well as ‘work in progress’ on the memories being constructed– especially effective in the scene where the elderly Beatrice (Dawn Morris) dances with her younger self on screen.  Other dancing highlights included Number One’s solo number (Nick Doughlin excels) and Number Four’s angel number (Kelly Davidson at her most twinkly!).

The difficulties of selecting a single memory from one’s life are portrayed in different ways – Beatrice complains that this is not what she expected of death:  “We wanted peace, not choice”;  whereas Hari (Jon Elwes) agonises until the very last moment; and Obafemi (Ryan Morrison) just refuses to select any memory, as he has no memory that doesn’t involve him being ill.

The audio memories were a little difficult to decipher sometimes, but the various renditions of “Is That All There Is?” were most effective.  The black and white flickering ‘memories’ on screen proved a problem for my visually challenged companion, due to the low contrast, but overall the technology worked well.

This is a very professional production, both on stage and behind the scenes, and we thoroughly recommend it. 

Sue Beech
Elementary Whatson

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