Post-Mortem (4 stars)

This article is from 2019


credit: Ali Wright

Clever and creative physical theatre about love and growing up

Love and death are often intertwined in romances and dramas. When the heart of a pig's corpse bursts in their biology class, Alex (Iskandar Sharazuddin) and Nancy (Essie Barrow) tumble into a teenage romance. From there, their relationship twists and turns until they meet again ten years later at a wedding. Memories bubble to the surface and the truth of what they went through is confronted.

From that synopsis, the fairly standard rom-com narrative shining through. Indeed, Jessica Rose McVay's direction does use familiar Richard Curtis tropes and that sense of charming, bumbling British awkwardness. The grounded dialogue is juxtaposed against expressive and passionate choreography and physical theatre.

What makes Post-Mortem different from any of these rom-coms is the restrained script, written by Sharazuddin. Audiences have to work to follow the plot points. As a result, what might have been a predictable story is shocking and engrossing.

Sharazuddin and Barrow have fantastic chemistry; together they weave an astoundingly complex relationship within the first half of the performance alone. Barrow's character is the perfect embodiment of the dream metropolitan millennial housewife, while Sharazuddin's delivery, physicality and comedic timing as a sensitive and self-centred poet are flawless. Far from being dead on arrival, Post-Mortem is smart, tender, and captivating theatre.

Assembly George Square Studios, until 26 Aug (not 19), 10.50am, £10–£12 (£9–£11).


  • 4 stars

Ellandar Productions and Jessica Rose McVay Productions Nancy and Alex fell in love when they were teenagers. It is wholehearted, obsessive, knotted-together love. An exploding pig heart leads to a first kiss, shared secrets, comic books and Dido classics. Then it shatters. Ten years later they reunite and are forced to…