Last Easter

Bryony Lavery's Last Easter is a one-act comedy about cancer, euthanasia and the vestigial presence of religious imagery in our hopeless, secular lives. Laughing yet? Surprisingly, you will be, as the four-person cast infuse the script with different, lively personalities that all do their part towards averting the car-crash/flatline (delete as appropriate) that such a text could undoubtedly end up as.For my money the best performance came from Joy, a jolly-hockey-sticks wino in the best Joanna Lumley style who gets one of the night's biggest giggles ending one tirade 'fuck everything, and fuck you!' Joy likes saying 'fuck' and pretending not to notice the agonising pain her friend June is suffering, but like with all three of June's friends-to-the-end it's at least partly a facade, a comment on the potentially-tragic fact that our culture has few ways of processing mortality other than attempting to laugh at, about and around it that's no less effective for being hilariously funny.Leah, a neurotic American, is also wonderful, giving at times the impression she might just be able to fight off death with a puppet frog. Perhaps the hardest part is June herself, both young and touched with the premature age of a terminal illness, but by and large the role is handled with a quiet, unflinching dignity, albeit one that sometimes makes it hard to believe that end is really coming. I was less impressed by gay Catholic Gash (if there's a justification for the name, I missed it), but that's no comment on the actor playing him; as his inner conflicts were never given space for dramatic development the character became a caricature of an unhelpfully-stereotyped promiscuous, effeminate image of homosexuality already too prominent in broadcast media.The four work extremely well as a unit, turning a mostly-bare stage into a variety of locations through simple changes of set and lighting, an eerie background humming creating a great sense of atmosphere for the central trip to Lourdes. The one thing I'd previously heard about this show, that in previous productions the dying June had left this life by walking out 'towards the light' through the audience, was sadly absent in this interpretation and would have made a nice touch, but a horrendous glowing Virgin Mary statue, a few glimpses of genuine poetic power, a fierce contemporaneity of reference and a scene where someone considers suffocation with a 'Bag For Life' more than make up for the lack of this gimmick. Although occasionally solemn, Lavery's writing is never bleak and without ever directly confronting its central issue – the response to death – the question is posed and answers suggested in all corners, light and dark, of this production. In conclusion: dead funny.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

The Blurb

A contemporary tragicomedy, which explores the miraculous powers of sex, alcohol and comedy; as four best friends embark on a sordid pilgrimage to Lourdes in order to laugh and heal. ***** (Broadwaybaby.com, on Article 19's 'Art' 2009).

Most Popular See More

Grease the Musical

From £20.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Come From Away

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

My Fair Lady

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

The Phantom of the Opera

From £27.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Tina - The Tina Turner Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Pretty Woman: The Musical

From £24.00

More Info

Find Tickets