Venue: Kings Cross Theatre (Kings Cross NSW), Oct 8 – 22, 2016
Playwright: Dennis Kelly
Director: Michael Abercromby
Cast: Josh Brennan, Grace Victoria
Image by Rupert Reid
Louise and Mark are locked in a bunker. We are not quite sure how they got there, but we know that it is the male of the pair who is calling the shots. It could be the apocalypse, and the end of the world is a complex matter for those who survive. Dennis Kelly’s After The End is a quirky, but dark, story about the atrocities that happen in a world where nobody thinks that they’re the bad guy.
Although its contexts are dramatic, its plot is simple and unfortunately, a predictable one. There is discernible concerted effort put into creating tension for the staging, but only its later sequences are able to captivate, and when we do become engaged, it is the portrayal of violence that draws us in, rather than inherent ideas that can seem superficial, with insufficient provocative power. Some of the play’s mysteries could be more effectively manipulated, but both performers (Josh Brennan and Grace Victoria) are remarkably focused, well-rehearsed and enthusiastically present.
In After The End, a woman is made victim when she finds herself waking up in an environment completely controlled by a man. Unable to negotiate a renewal of circumstances that will provide a level playing field, Louise is forced into combat for the top dog position, squarely on Mark’s terms. Determined for his desires to dominate their microcosm, Mark’s impositions are a representation of the obstacles that feminists are up against, and reason for the deterioration of advancements that had been made. It is a pessimistic view that the play proffers, but an accurate depiction of a state of affairs where everybody loses, if we perpetuate that status quo.