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Having always been a fan of The Simpsons and having watched the vastly popular Cape Feare episode more than once, I was the perfect audience member for this play by Anne Washburn and I honestly can’t tell you whether you will enjoy it if you aren’t a regular viewer of the TV show.

What I can say is that as it was a balmy 22°C outside and it opened with a group of people sat around a campfire, you were instantly thrown into a different world.

What at first appeared as if it could just been a pleasant outing quickly revealed itself as a world where there was no more television, let alone any yellow cartoon family, and the group was trying to recount, line by line that aforementioned Cape Feare episode in which Sideshow Bob tries to bump off Bart.

We have been told this scene is set ’Soon’ and discover the group has been brought together by an attempt to flee the fallout of the nuclear power stations failing.

Cutting through the cartoon comedy, there are brilliantly acted moments of raw humanity, such as one lady recounting a chance meeting with a man who wanted to make the nearest power station safe, but his courage failed him. When a stranger arrives at the edge of their camp they greet him with fear and then caution and then rattle through their lists of people they are searching for in a desperate attempt to see if there are any matches.

Scene two jumps forward seven years and again we are greeted by what could be a normal scene of domestic bliss, a man on his couch greeting his wife as she arrives home. But again this quickly disintegrates as we realise this is the same group, now an acting troupe who go around performing old Simpsons episodes comforting commercials and an insane ’greatest hits’ music medley, which includes Who Let the Dogs Out and Toxic by Britney Spears, which drew plenty of laughs.

It was here that Washburn’s themes of memory and storytelling really began to emerge as we watch them doggedly hold on to this seemingly inane television show and become genuinely distraught when memory fails them. There is a shock ending to this second act, which I won’t spoil.

But when the final scene opens it is even more shocking. We have skipped forward 75 years, so the previous group are long gone and their ramshackle performances have mutated into an operatic-style performance. The Simpsons are elevated to being the last shining hope in the wake of the nuclear fallout and given mythical grandeur with crowns in place of their spiky hair.

They are chased down, not by Sideshow Bob, but by Mr Burns, who has transformed into a lecherous, Joker-esque villain with Itchy and Scratchy as his ghoulish henchmen.

While many may have found Bart’s wide-eyed singing hilarious, I actually found it quite moving that society had taken the cartoon and found their own new meaning in, one which encapsulated all their hopes and fears. And for me, this is what Washburn’s play was all about.

Almeida, Almeida Street, off Upper Street, Islington, until July 26. Details: 020 7359 4404, almeida.co.uk