An exploration of the "restorative justice system" Julian Armitstead's After the Accident asks if we can ever really truly forgive when lives are left paralysed by anger and grief can place a powerful strangle hold over a victim's everyday.
An apparently simple scenario - persistent young offender Leon (James Kozlowski) has killed Petra (Frances Ashman) and Jimmy's (Richard Stacey) young daughter after crashing the car he was joy riding. The couple meet their daughter's killer face to face four years on hoping for "a way forwards".
The couple can't forgive, their son's killer. He in turn cannot forgive his dead friend Freddie for throwing him the stollen car keys and telling him to drive. Still sickeningly obsessed by cars, the victims of Leon's crime want to see him live through the hell in which they find themselves, and Kozlowski brings a youthful incredulity to his portrayal.
Ashman's harrowing performance captures a mother who cannot see an end to her grief. She exists trapped between the guilt of her daughter's killer and a father whose world is poisoned by the guilt of not having done enough to protect her.
Julian Armistead, who won Amnesty International’s Protect the Human Award for his script, occasionally resorts to cliche to address the most complex aspects of his character's grief, but his apparently simple 70-minute play unfolds into something far more complex and poses questions with an unadulterated and raw emotion.