THEATRE REVIEW: Before After starring Rosalie Craig and Hadley Fraser at the Southwark Playhouse


WHERE?: Southwark Playhouse

WHEN?: 26/9 (matinee) closes 26/9/20

Hadley Fraser and Rosalie Craig are a real-life husband and wife and their easy chemistry is the best thing about this story of a relationship told both before and after a life-changing event.

  • Read on for reasons including how to watch productions from this venue even while it is closed for performances

We meet Ben and Ami by a tree on a beautiful hillside and, although she recognises him instantly as someone she was very much in love with, he doesn’t remember her at all.

Later we discover that Ben lost his memory in a car accident and the rehearsed reading of this musical two-hander switches in time to view the couple’s relationship before the accident and afterwards as we watch and wonder whether they can fall back in love again.

Craig’s Ami sings the bulk of the ballad-heavy score and we wished it could have been more memorable because the star of Company (Gielgud Theatre), City Of Angels (Garrick Theatre) and As You Like It (National Theatre) deserves better.

Fraser’s broke artist Ben has the best number which benefits from being a little bit more uptempo than much of the rest as he prepares for a visit by Ami to his home and worries ‘what if the guys she used to date had money and country estates?’

We’ve seen him previously in City Of Angels (Garrick Theatre), The Antipodes (Dorfman, National Theatre) and Young Frankenstein (Garrick Theatre) and we thought he was far more convincing and engaging as a Brit here rather than an American.

Above is a clip by the original cast of Fraser and Caroline Sheen who first performed the piece at the St James Studio Theatre, now the Other Palace, back in 2014.

The musical love story was written by Stuart Matthew Price and Timothy Knapman, and it was streamed live from The Little at the Southwark Playhouse, which has been closed for performances since lockdown in March, for three shows in September.

At the moment there are no plans for the piece to be available on the venue’s streaming platform, the Southwark Stayhouse.

At a time when theatres are exploring ways of reopening and making it financially viable with social distancing this innovation by one of our favourite venues must be applauded.

  • Picture via Facebook courtesy Southwark Playhouse Tickets
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