Review: 'The Morning After The Life Before' At The Viking Theatre

The 'Morning After The Life Before' returns to Dublin after a highly successful run at the Bewleys Theatre in March.

The Morning After The Life Before
Image: ShowPic

The Morning After The Life Before is a two-woman show telling the true story of Ann Blake’s experience coming out later in life and getting engaged in a country she could not get married in.]

It has begun a two week run at the Viking Theatre in Clontarf.

The play takes place on the groggy Sunday morning of May 24 2015, just after Ireland has made history by voting 62% in favour of marriage equality. Hungover, Ann gets a text from her brother asking “How’s the morning after the life before?” and the reality of a new Ireland begins to settle in.

The Morning After The Life Before

As we approach the fourth anniversary of the Marriage Equality Referendum this year, The Morning After the Life Before is a timely heartfelt and humorous reminder of both the time before and the times that followed. Ann Blake, the playwright and a performer in The Morning After The Life Before, is a founding member of Choke Comedy Improv and has the impressive ability to integrate humour into an incredibly emotional story.

Her co-performer, Lucia Smyth, takes on the role of ‘cast of thousands’ including both of Blake’s parents, various bureaucrats and Blake’s partner, Jenny. Smyth is trained in circus, clowning and contact dance improvisation, allowing her to bring a unique physicality to her performance.

Awards include Best of Fringe at Montreal and London Ontario Fringe Festivals in 2017, LGBTQ award nomination Brighton Fringe in 2018, and Best Actress (Lucia Smyth) and Best Director (Paul Meade) at the recent 2019 Origin First Irish Theatre Festival in New York and it’s easy to see why as this show is a gem which can be enjoyed by a broad audience as it tells a universal story of love..

Both Blake and Smyth create a strong rapport with the audience from the beginning. By breaking the fourth wall, a connection is forged with the crowd which is only intensified by the vulnerability shown by Blake in her story of self-acceptance and national acceptance.

The Morning After The Life Before

The set uses two chairs, a table and various table cloths. The table is covered with newspaper cutouts with headlines from the time of the referendum. A guitar and a wedding dress are also present on stage.

The play deals with complex themes in such an empathetic way that you can’t help but relate to the struggles and celebrations in Ann’s story.

The passion displayed by Blake is palpable making this a true love story devoted to her wife Jenny and to Irish society.

The piece has a very natural flow, despite it being a combination of pieces from a play she wrote pre-referendum and four years on from the results of the referendum it is a refreshing reminder of how far we have come.

The opening show received rapturous applause from the audience and a standing ovation. It is not to be missed, to book tickets call or text 0871129970.

All images copyright ShowPic.Net

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