What Goes on Without Me is a serio-comic about the afterlife, produced by Laura Denison and directed by Alessia Lowcock from the Nottingham New Theatre group. It is being performed at theSpace on the Mile (Venue 39) in the early afternoon every other day.
This two-person cast consists of Katie Booth and Millie Rushworth taking the roles of Jude and the Omniscient Figure respectively. It focuses on Jude, recently deceased and learning about the Afterlife over a cup of tea with the Omniscient Figure. It asks the question – if you had ten minutes back on Earth, where would you go? A question that Jude has to find an answer to before they finish their pot of tea.
Alongside these performers, the show is periodically interrupted by a dimming of the lights and voice-overs from people describing where they would chose to spend these ten minutes. This directorial choice brings another level of humanity to the show, and encourages the audience to appreciate what they may see as the simple and mundane things in their lives.
While the premise of What Goes on Without Me may remind audiences of a mixture of “Before the Coffee Gets Cold” and “Under the Whispering Door”, the show itself is beautifully unique and incredibly touching. Where Rushworth’s performance as the Omniscient Figure is hilarious with their musings over what the previously deceased chose as their final ten minutes and their discussions about what it means to be human, Booth’s portrayal of Jude is far softer.
One of the benefits of it being shown in a small theatre like the ones at the Fringe is that it allows every audience member to observe every emotion on Booth’s face – we can see their sadness, their fear, their confusion, and their amusement as they come to terms with their own death. The contrast between Rushworth’s large, flamboyant gestures and Booth’s subtler, but no less powerful performance, is what brought to life the writing by Alessia Lowcock.
While What Goes on Without Me may not be the most polished show at the Fringe this year, it is a show worth watching. Its quiet comedy and musings on philosophy will leave all audiences pondering the very question Jude is made to answer. Full of talented and creative individuals, the Nottingham New Theatre group is without a doubt one to keep an eye on.