Director: Nir Paldi
Reviewer: Andrea Allen
You’ve been given three months to live. You’ve got nothing to lose. What would you do? Go out and kill your worst enemy? Maybe a few of them?
In vengeance for her mother’s death after she is gunned down for speaking out against capitalist and governmental corruption, Bucket List tells the story of Milagros, a 13 year old girl who, in the wake of a devastating health diagnosis caused by exposure to the toxic pollution against which her mother protested, arms herself with the bloodstained list of names from her mother’s hand and makes it her hitlist.
Bucket List doesn’t sugarcoat the pill. Rape, decapitation, child molestation and savage beatings form just a small part of the horrors subjected to those trapped in this US border town. The community is typical of those hit hardest by the signing of NAFTA, the 1994 free trade agreement which paved the way for America to exploit cheap Mexican labour and impose diabolical and in the long-term, deadly, working conditions on a largely female workforce.
The Yorkshire twang of Milagros’ mother Maria (Deb Pugh) brings things uncomfortably close to home. As she spits her disgust at the corruption of Mexico’s police force she could be on the picket line of the miners’ strikes or an anti-Trump protester outside of Manchester Town Hall. The multiple accents and nationalities within Theatre Ad Infinitum hammer home the fact that corruption and exploitation is a global concern. Bucket List asks what we’re going to do about it. The answer isn’t clear cut, but the conversation has been started.
Theatre Ad Infinitum’s ability to have their audience giggling in one beat and sick to the stomach with fear in the next gives a sharply pertinent insight into what it is to live your life on a tightrope between love and laughter and brutality and violence. Slick movement and interludes of slapstick provide a disorientating vision where reality and fiction become blurred and it’s unclear whether you’re witnessing horror or hallucination. A simultaneously unsettling and inspiring show that serves as much as a reality check as it does a call to action.
Runs until 27 April 2017 | Image: Jack Offord