After The Flood

Fri 5th – Sun 14th August 2016


Sebastian Ng

at 07:58 on 12th Aug 2016



Ropes. Torchlights waving about in darkness. A band of youngsters dressed in diving suits, speaking in anxious tones about ‘submerged cities’ and the need to ‘dive for food’ to stave off hunger. In just a few short minutes we know we are in a world where something traumatic has happened and has become far too dangerous for the youngsters through whose eyes we experience it. Intriguingly the girls (who are literate) are in charge, while the boys are there because they can be workhorses. One of the boys chafes under female leadership, revealing one of the biggest fissures in a band of survivors who are just barely holding it together due to their contrasting personalities. Things take an uncertain turn when they discover a rival gang’s grunt hiding within their claimed space...

Evidently, the story takes place in a world which takes quite a bit of explaining, but I have to say the pacing of exposition is superb – the audience is given the backstory as and when required, without ever losing focus on the characters’ ever-present dilemmas, and just enough to understand what is going on. The design of the plot is highly efficient, making optimal use of the characters and given circumstances to drive further plot developments that serve to constrict the band’s options as the play progresses, testing their character and forcing them to make difficult choices. The play is not particularly invested in exploring its thematic elements – gender politics, mostly, and a brief allusion to environmentalism – choosing to focus on putting the audience in the shoes of the characters as they navigate their dangerous world.

The performances by the young cast were more than adequate, all displaying strong and highly varied characterisation. There is not a weak link among the cast, but I especially noticed Hannah Tudge (who happens to look a lot like a young Felicity Jones); she plays the highly-strung Plot, her eyes perpetually darting around like a bird, which is unnerving to watch.

The sound design deserves a mention, not just because it manages to create the necessary atmosphere of edgy dread and support the notion that the characters are moving about in a dilapidated hotel building with questionable structural integrity, but also because it is audible throughout the entire play, and is played at just the right volume so that the audience is aware of it without ever getting distracted by it.

Overall, an unpretentious but accomplished play that successfully combines economic writing with well-crafted characters, achieves the ambitious setup of conveying a post-apocalyptic world despite its minimal production design, and offers the opportunity to watch a talented young group of actors. A definite recommend.


Charlotte Thomas

at 09:41 on 12th Aug 2016



Sundial Theatre Company’s production of ‘After the Flood’ is set in a post-apocalyptic future, governed by the ruthless need to survive. It follows a crew of young divers as they search for means of survival, make a troubling discovery, and struggle to keep their team intact.

Entering the Sweet venue in Grassmarket, I am immediately struck by the aesthetic of the set. A wire and metal frame is illuminated by blue and green LEDs, with a minimal soundscape evoking the sea playing in the background. This simple but effective set-up immediately sets the tone for a cool, uncaring environment, and co-directors Gareth Morgan and Duncan Walthew should be commended for these choices. Lighting is used simply yet clearly to signpost location changes in the piece, and scene changes are smooth, signified with blackouts and accompanied by a threatening soundtrack.

A play reminiscent of William Golding’s ‘Lord of the Flies’ teamed with Dennis Kelly’s ‘DNA’, ‘After the Flood’ (written by Walthew) requires some confident, talented young actors to really bring the disturbing, anarchic story to life. There are some stand-outs to this effect, although I would like to take this opportunity commend the entire cast on a very strong performance.

Polly Druce, as leader Atlanta, shows great confidence and command of the stage. Druce clearly demonstrates her character’s capacity to lead with clear delivery and physicality. Hannah Tudge, as Plot, adroitly keeps up an impressive physical performance which signifies her as a nervous, but brilliant logistics officer. Finally, I would like to mention Aimee Cook, as the quiet Cassie. Although Cook appears to be withholding something at first, she really comes into her own and grows as the piece progresses, and should be very proud of what is – by the end – a moving performance.

I have two pointers I would like to offer the cast. Firstly, in a play whose script includes quite a lot of technical sounding language and important plot points, diction and pace is very important. At times I felt I had missed some of the lines due to rushed speech. Secondly, during the more emotional scenes, certain actors could do with toning the volume down slightly. High volume is very effective, but if used too often it risks becoming monotonous. Using more variation in tone could help to keep the audience on their toes, and often serves to make a piece more threatening than if it’s pitched at a constant shout.

Overall, ‘After the Flood’ is a well-acted, well-executed piece of theatre with an engaging story and I very much enjoyed it.


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