Wife After Death was written by Eric Chappell who is also known for the seventies TV sitcoms: Rising Damp, Only When I Laugh and Duty Free.
In this play, Chappell asks us to consider whether we ever really know anyone. Comedian and national treasure Dave Thursby has died, and, on the day of his funeral, friends and colleagues gather beside his coffin in Dave’s front room in Dave’s front room to pay their last respects.
There's Harvey, Dave’s best friend and writer of the material and sitcom that made Dave famous; Vi, Harvey's long suffering wife; the shrewd, canny if somewhat emotional, Kevin, Dave's agent; and Kevin's wife, Jane, whose still waters run very deep!
Dave's glamorous widow, Laura, has arranged a funeral to remember, complete with a horse-drawn carriage. She hopes that she has thought of everything to show off the affluent lifestyle afforded to her by Dave’s successful career.
The arrival of an unknown woman with a showbiz past turns out to be Kay, Dave's ex-wife from before he was famous. A series of admissions and confessions ends with Kevin throwing a drink into the coffin and all the guests asking themselves if they ever knew the real Dave.
Act II opens three weeks later for the disposal of Dave's ashes. The atmosphere is tense and Kevin is wearing a controversial tie but, as more truths are revealed, Dave seems to be having the last laugh - even from beyond the crematorium.
Friendship, fidelity, loyalty and celebrity are explored as well as betrayal, disappointment and complete bewilderment. Everyone thought that they knew Dave so well, but each had a different perception of him.
As well as the witty one-liners, listen out for the suggestion that the last book of the Bible, Revelations, might inspire an appropriate eulogy and also for the song, Getting to Know You from The King and I.