A group of four people stand holding small models of homes.
Hertha Nova at the Impostors. Credit: Kyle Smart

Anyone who has dealt with a homeowners association might suspect those organizations to be spawned out of the bottom rung of Hell, but in The Impostors’ afterlife fable, they’re more of a friendly (albeit suspect) purgatorial nuisance. Bernard (Nick Strauss) awakens from his deathbed to the dilapidated netherworld of Old Hertham, a genial if sort-of-miserable community of spirits awaiting housing assignments in the new shining city across the fault. There, he reconnects with his deceased former lover Eve (Keaton Stewart) and—in a time-traveling intergenerational love conundrum twist—Eve’s adult daughter (Gail Harder).

Hertha Nova
Through 2/26: Thu-Sat 7:30 PM, Sun 3 PM, Den Theatre, 1331 N. Milwaukee, theimpostorstheatre.com, $15 general, $20 reserved.

Rachel Borgo’s adaptation of Harry Blamires’s novel New Town: A Fable . . . Unless You Believe spends a significant percentage of its runtime in fantastical world-building mode, and to its credit, it does achieve a vividly imagined, droll, acutely British vision of life after death where everyone keeps carrying on and rolling with the punches, leaky roofs and squeamish family romantic triangles be damned. Stefan Roseen’s impressively scaled production treats it all tongue-in-cheek with broad storybook characterizations and a whimsical score by Dominick Vincent Alesia, who earns one-man-band status playing piano and guitar (sometimes literally at the same time).

But by allocating so much of its dialogue to the contractual in-and-outs of New Hertham’s arcane points-based reference system, Hertha Nova plays out with a pace more akin to a graphic novel or RPG than a 110-minute theatrical play. Besides some nuance in the mother-daughter relationship pushed to otherworldly strains between Harder and Stewart, the take-it-on-the-chin tone also flattens some of the emotional ebb and flow of the plot, resulting in a play where minute 20 feels an awful lot like minute 100.