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Home arrow Archive: EdFringe 2013 arrow After What Comes Before
After What Comes Before
Published on Thursday, 15 August 2013

4 stars

Greenside (venue website)
2-10, 12-17, 19-24 Aug, 8:50pm-9:40pm
Reviewed by Ellen Macpherson

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

When you read the programme blurb for this production, it sounds more like Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein than Young Frankenstein. However, don’t be fooled. This production is a top-notch comedy about the effects of science on humanity, filled with physicality and high energy. Quirky, deep and witty, this production is one for those that love the odd mad scientist...or three.

The one-act play puts three scientists in a room together - a dangerously rational psychotherapist, an abnormally juvenile physicist and a dreamer of a neurosurgeon. In a rather clichéd turn of events, they attempt to build a machine that can create the perfect brain, removing distracting thoughts and achieving 'perfect balance.' On paper, it sounds like your run-of-the-mill science-versus-humanity drama. On stage, however, the characters shine, providing an hour of hilarious back-and-forth slapstick and verbal plays.

Walking in, we see the rather evil-looking psychotherapist sitting on a large box in the middle of an unassuming set of three chalkboards. As the play moves on however, the set reveals its cleverness - hidden doors, concealed props and moveable steps add a surprise element to the occasionally-tiring slapstick routine. The physical theatre is outstanding and hilarious, although it can sometimes drag on unnecessarily. Most impressive to me, however, were the verbal plays of the neuroscientist - quite clearly, it's no easy task to have to memorise a flow chart for your brain then deliver it in quick-witted style.

For the short length of the show, what the audience gets is a very slick piece of entertainment. The dynamic between these three actors and their three nameless characters is endearing and honest. The use of lighting, music and staging is notable, with nothing taken for granted. The ending does seem a little rushed and unfinished, for a production that took so long to develop its plot; I won't give anything major away, but there is a little disparity between the expectations that have been built up, and the actual consequences of the machine. Had it gone on for another twenty minutes, perhaps it would have been more satisfying.

Ultimately though, there are only small criticisms to make. The show provides an hour of genuinely hilarious and somewhat disturbing entertainment. The audience at Greenside was very impressed - the studio was full of laughter and encouragement. This is a surprising little gem of a show, that takes old clichés to new heights of parody and left me grinning from ear to ear.

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