The Afterlife Is a Farce: U.K.'s Frantic Assembly Stages Heavenly in Brits Off Bway Fest Starting May 12

News   The Afterlife Is a Farce: U.K.'s Frantic Assembly Stages Heavenly in Brits Off Bway Fest Starting May 12
Heavenly, the latest staging in the Brits Off Broadway festival at the 59E59 Theaters, begins performances May 12 in Manhattan.

Created by the internationally acclaimed British theatre company Frantic Assembly, Heavenly "ponders 59 things you need never do again when you are dead."

Devised by Frantic Assembly company members, the piece "stretches the conventions of theatrical farce to the limits," according to production notes. "Three friends struggle on the road to enlightenment, not to mention the slippery West Wales coastal path, the same path that claims their lives one drunken New Year's Eve."

Frantic Assembly "presents the complexities of the afterlife in a riotous play of time-traveling 'what ifs,' as three boys attempt to find the optimum intelligence, order a pizza and save the world. But first there is a small matter of a phone call home that might upset Mum. Heavenly is bursting with carefully selected crowd-pleasing moves and the lost art of the one-inch punch."

This is the fourth production of 59E59 Theaters' Brits Off Broadway dramafest. Press opening for Heavenly is May 16 in Theater B. The performance schedule is Wednesday & Thursday at 8:30 PM, Friday at 8:30 & 10:30 PM, Saturday at 2:30 & 8:30 PM and Sunday at 3:30 & 7:30 PM. Heavenly continues to May 30.

The Woman Destroyed, translated by and starring Diana Quick, continues to May 16 in Theater C. Brits Off Broadway tickets range $30-$50. For information, call (212) 279 4200.

For scheduling information, visit

Brits Off-Broadway is a festival of 11 new works from British writers, performers and companies.

If you've only read about such famous festivals as the Edinburgh Fringe or about ambitious Off-Broadway-style UK companies committed to new voices, this is a rare chance to witness the kind of work done over there, but on American soil.


Also in continuing rep through July 4 in three different spaces at 59E59 Theaters:

  • Cooking for Kings, starring acclaimed actor and writer, Ian Kelly, is directed by Simon Green and based on Kelly's best-selling biography. Cooking for Kings "is a solo show based on the life of Antonin Careme, the first celebrity chef, and follows his rise to become a chef for Napoleon, the Prince Regent, Tsar Alexander I and others." (Theater C, May 18-June 6)
  • Absolutely Fascinating, presented by Britain's trio, Fascinating Aida, is a satirical musical comedy. "They bring their new show to New York, direct from their sold-out season at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe, a record-breaking UK tour and a hit season at the Comedy Theater in London's West End for which they were nominated (for the third time) for the Best Entertainment Olivier Award." (Theater A, May 20-June 13)
  • Ghost City, presented by Wales' Sgript Cymru, is the fourth hit written by Gary Owen and directed by Simon Harris. The work is "a dark and sexy live performance underscored by free jazz and an electronic sound score," following the events of 24 lives, over the course of 24 hours, "all linked in a way no one could predict." (Theater B, June 1-13)
  • Berkoff's Women, playing in repertory with No Fear!, both starring Linda Marlowe. Berkoff's Women "is a compilation of the most rewarding moments of Berkoff's female roles," and No Fear! "is a set of entirely real events from Linda Marlowe's extraordinary life." A rotating performance schedule allows you to see both shows on Saturday and Sunday and on consecutive weekdays. (Theater C, June 8-July 4)
  • Hurricane, presented by Ransom Productions, Belfast Northern Ireland's newest theatre company, stars the author, Richard Dormer, and is directed by Rachel O'Riordan. Hurricane is "an astonishing and devastating portrayal of the life of Northern Ireland's World Champion snooker-player, enjoyed sold-out runs in London's Soho Theatre and Edinburgh Festival Fringe, where Richard Dormer was named Best Actor. (Theater B, June 15-July 4)
  • The Straits, presented by Paines Plough, Britain's leading theatre for new work, is new Scottish writer Gregory Burke's second play. "It follows an extraordinary summer in the lives of four teenagers in the Straits of Gibraltar during the Falklands War of 1982." John Tiffany directs, with movement by Steven Hoggett, following a popular UK tour. (Theater A, June 15-July 4)
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