Like many shows at the festival, the wordless Afterlives weakens its impact by running too long. For the audience, concentrating on pure movement, much of it fast and aggressive, for 70 minutes is exhausting.
Still, there’s a lot of terrific dance, physical theatre and mime in this two-man, one-woman show from Edmonton, strangely classified as a comedy. Sometimes nightmarish, it tells three stories about characters who die — by gunshot or suicide — and return to life. Mysterious figures in masks control their destinies — a weird element that could easily be dropped.
The stunner here is the final story, a tour-de-force mime/dance solo performed by Jon Lachlan Stewart to Gershwin’s Rhapsody in Blue. Set against a witty backdrop of projected drawings, it rapidly traces a man’s entire life and trip to heaven. It’s theatrical paradise.
— Alison Mayes