Toronto Fringe Review: AfterLife – Glen Morris Studio

By Dana Lacey

Friends by Dana Lacey

When I first read the synopsis of After Life, I thought, great, another one-grrl show. The plot sounded suspiciously like an after-school special: one woman (Candy Simmons) takes on three stereotypical roles: the childless 1920s midwife, the bubbly 50s homemaker, and the tightly wound modern-day film producer. I expected heavy-handed social commentary (my body’s nobody’s body but mine.) Thankfully, I was disappointed. The midwife is a murderer, the homemaker a secret yoga convert and the film producer, well she’s an asshole.

Describing the characters does nothing to explain what the show is about–just go see it. I loved every minute. If I sound like I’m gushing, it’s because I am. Simmons played each character with such unique distinction that I easily forgot she wasn’t actually three people. As a midwife who will do anything for a baby, she is delicately fierce and hilarious in a murderously subtle way. The homemaker coos adorable little giggles and plenty of “you bethca’s ” and compares her cozy life to blouse that’s too tight. She goes on a trip–but not a vacation, a trip inside her mind dontchaknow. Then there’s the bluetoothed rageaholic–all business suit and insults–who wonders if she’ll ever be able to get over that habit of being unhappy.

She mostly speaks to the audience directly, but without the forced insight monologues tend to fall victim to. Sure, the sneaky thing about After Life is there are some lessons, morals and other crap sewn into the dialogue, but it reaches beyond that tired tune about equality and glass ceilings. Instead, it tells three new stories, funny as hell and no punches held.

Photo by Dana Lacey

Details:

AfterLife is playing at the Glen Morris Theatre (4 Glen Morris Street.)

Showtimes are:

Wed, July 1 7:00 PM
Fri, July 3 2:00 PM
Sat, July 4 10:00 PM
Tues, July 7 10:30 PM
Wed, July 8 3:30 PM
Thu, July 9 6:30 PM
Fri, July 10 5:30 PM

Tickets are available online or by calling 416-966-1062