‘After Life’ Review: London Stage Adaptation is a Fascinating Idea That Never Comes Alive as Drama

Remembrance of things past is not just a preoccupation of Proust. From King Lear’s terrifying fear of losing his mind to Pinter’s interlocked threesome in “Old Times” hotly contesting what each of them remembers, memory has been the well-spring of many a play. But in the National Theatre’s stage adaptation of Hirokazu Kore-eda’s 1998 film “After Life,” memory is not just one element, it’s the be-all and, quite literally, the end-all.

Memory is all that several of this story’s characters actually have since, as Kevin McMonagle’s almost jaunty opening address puts it: “Yesterday, you passed away. I’m sorry for your loss.” Having died, these arrivals meet five formally dressed,

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