Joey Page is experiencing a mid-life crisis. His main preoccupations now include such burning issues such as making the perfect Moroccan tagine, John Lewis gift vouchers and dinner parties. What’s a man to do? Well, in the case of Page, he spends an hour ranting in a hilarious manner about these and more age-related topics.
He effectively combines these observational aspects of his show with more inventively surreal elements such as his traffic light poem, his Samsung phone costume and his twisted age-related take on Wheel of Fortune without these differing comedic approaches clashing. The Wheel segments in particular are inspired pieces of audience participation that also allows Page to riff on such unlikely topics as improv comedy and train journey crossword puzzles.
However, it is Page’s rants that resonate the most, with his routines about eating out with twenty-somethings, reading out a transcription of a radio interview with Ariana Grande and his painstaking description of a dinner party that he and his wife attended really bringing the show to life. Page brings an energy to every one of his grievances, with the dinner party in particular standing out, as his description of having one of his stand-up routines come under meticulous examination maximises the sheer awkwardness of the situation.
Not all of Afterlife… works as smoothly as the above material, with the show occasionally having to pause whilst Page searches for his props, which mildly disrupts its pacing. The show finale, which returns to an earlier routine about Page being mugged, also feels somewhat thrown-together in comparison to the rest of Page’s material, despite its positive message. Nevertheless, Afterlife… is a sometimes surreal and always engaging look at the sudden realisation of the aging process that serves as a good reminder to check out the Free Fringe – the shows on offer can provide some surprises.