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What Goes On Without Me – Edinburgh Fringe

Hasn’t this sort of narrative been done already? If you’ve ever seen a production of Rodgers & Hammerstein’s Carousel, the final scenes in that show involve a dead guy being given permission to go back to earth for a day, to make sufficient amends to pass the threshold for good deeds to get into Heaven. Here, Jude is in a consultation room, dressed in her pyjamas. Somebody else comes along and offers her drinks and light refreshments, but it’s not immediately clear what’s going on, until Jude’s host, having broken her in gently with a cuppa, tells her plainly that she’s dead.

What Goes On Without MeJude is understandably discombobulated, and amongst other things is trying to work out who her host even is. All she says is that she’s “the one who runs this place”, ‘the place’ being the afterlife, and when Jude deduces she must, by process of elimination, be talking to God, the Almighty doesn’t exactly object, before proceeding to tell Jude she must choose somewhere back on Earth to revisit for ten minutes. There are certain terms and conditions, which I won’t go into here, suffice to say Jude asks about them to understand what precisely the parameters are.

It’s a while before she makes her final decision (think Who Wants To Be A Millionaire?, where contestants can deliberate back and forth as long as they want, but once they have confirmed their ‘final answer’, there is no going back). In between scenes, there are recorded thoughts by others on what they would do if they had died and were given one opportunity to spend ten minutes on Earth – where would they go?

This production paints a portrait of the afterlife as being not altogether different from life on Earth – most people, apparently, get bored of teleporting after a while and prefer to use public transport. I suppose I would too, if I had all of eternity to get from A to B. The show explores what it is to appreciate the simpler things in life – in the end, without giving too much away, Jude’s last ten minutes on Earth is of deep personal meaning, which triumphs over anything of global or historical significance.

3 Star Review

Review by Chris Omaweng

You’re dead. If you could go back to Earth for just ten minutes, where would you go?
That’s the question posed by the new play, ‘What Goes on Without Me’, brought to you by the Nottingham New Theatre. Written by Alessia Lowcock, this serio-comic will leave you questioning everything you thought you knew about life and death, all over a cup of tea. This follows the newly-dead Jude, who is trying to create the perfect ending to their imperfect time on Earth.

theSpace on the Mile: Space Two

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