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After The End

Citizens Theatre, Glasgow
4 stars
What would happen if the only boy and girl in the world were thrown
together, survivors of the ultimate fall-out? Would they get together
at last now they finally have time alone? Or would it all end in tears?
These are the things that Dennis Kelly's 2005 play seems to initially
be asking in a scenario that melds science-fiction and the sort of
tragic teen epics that used to litter up the pop charts. As it is, when
Louise comes to from a works night out in the 1980s nuclear fall-out
shelter that came with Mark's flat, any notions of romance look doomed,
as a steady diet of tinned chilli and Dungeons and Dragons takes a far
more dangerous turn than the student high-jinks all this so resembles.

This first of two revivals of Kelly's play in Scotland over the next
few weeks opens with the sound of old Beatles songs and chattering
voices coming from above the skeleton of what looks like an old wagon
that threatens to spill out of the Citz Circle Studio. Amanda Gaughan's
production proceeds with a low-lit, rumbling intensity, as
co-dependence turns into an increasingly ugly catalogue of stir-crazy
power games, manipulation and abuse.

None of this, as relatively recent news reports have illustrated, is
particularly far-fetched. But to see such horrors delivered with a
contemporary and close-to-home matter-of-factness as they are here by
Nicola Daley and Jonathan Dunn, onstage as Louise and Mark for the
play's full ninety-five minutes, make things even more shocking. As
relentless as all this is, only in the final scene do the full
ramifications of how someone's world can end become clear.

The Herald, May 23rd 2011



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