The title describes the play pretty literally: We follow Graciella throughout her life, meeting her only at times when someone or something has died - whether close friend or family member, pet, vague acquaintance or, in one instance, an iPhone. Along the way we meet childhood friend Jordan (Raphael Bushay,) who remains close to her as they grow up but, as he starts to experience depression, finds himself with a distinct relationship to death of his own. Later her girlfriend and eventual wife Cass (Gemma Barnett) joins the family, and as they grow older the rest of the cast double up as the younger generations.
Moving in a matter-of-fact sort of way, A Brief List of Everyone Who Died has the premise that Graciella's approach to death - it's a running joke among her family that she overrracts to even the death of a goldfish, and still thinks she can forbid people from ever dying like she tried to at the age of 5 - is a bit quirky, but that's something of a red herring: Her life has what seems like an average number of losses, a couple of tragically young ones but not an exaggerated soap opera amount, and ultimately her response feels a very human one, of growing up and becoming more familiar with how life has to end, but never quite accepting it as anything other than an alien concept. Perhaps the only unusual thing is how open she is to admitting that she hasn't made her peace with it, making for a gently intense and human 75 minutes, covering roughly 75 years.
A Brief List of Everyone Who Died by Jacob Marx Rice is available until the 20th of June on the Finborough Theatre's YouTube channel.
Running time: 1 hour 15 minutes.