A Brief List of Everyone Who Died ★★★ Finborough Theatre | May 16 - Jun 10, 2023

From earliest days a central subject of art has been the memento mori and it is the great mystery of death that haunts Graciela. When she is five her dog dies and from that moment on she fears and rejects the idea of dying. Her life becomes measured in the loss of friends and family. Jacob Marx Rice has taken on a big subject and his play deals sensitively and thoughtfully with how we face the inevitable as we age. Graciela's life is chronicled from childhood, through marriage, children, grandchildren and even great grandchildren, but always she fears and loathes the notion of mortality. The play sometimes seems a bit mechanical because of the age/date announcements, but it is lifted by the quality of the various performances. Kathryn Akin is absolutely perfect as Graciela's mother and Amelia Campbell shines as her spouse, Cass. Their actions and emotions ring true as they acknowledge and try to assuage Graciela's fears. As the central character, Vivia Font seemed to struggle on occasion, but nevertheless, creates a nuanced and engaging character. It is no small task to age from five to over eighty in ninety minutes, and Font manages it with good grace. From the beginning the question hanging over the play is how does one deal with the question of death? The understated concluding response offered by the playwright is by celebrating that other great mystery of existence, life itself.

Rated: ★★★

Reviewed by J.C.
Photo by Tristram Kenton.

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