DramaPulse FestivalReviewSouth EastSpoken Word

PULSE FESTIVAL: Am I Dead Yet – New Wolsey Studio, Ipswich


Writers and performers: Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe
Director: Amy Hodge
Reviewer: Glen Pearce

There’s a thin line between life and death as explained by Chris Thorpe and Jon Spooner in Am I Dead Yet? And there’s also a thin line between engaging theatre and pretension. It’s a line the duo come perilously close to crossing in this one-hour cabaret to the macabre.

Two main story arcs flow through the piece, both focussing on death – a gory recovery of a man hit by a train and the drowning in an ice-covered pond of a young girl. Around it there’s songs, comedy and a live CPR demonstration (here performed by the New Wolsey’s own stage technician Matt Ramsey)

There’s a real chemistry between the duo but the construction of the piece confuses, leaving us unsure if this is a comedy or something deeper. There are moments of touching, almost poetic poignancy in the worldplay but then any sense of emotional hook is quickly evaporated by a rapid switch of pace and genre.

Towards the end of the show there is a change of pace as the pair look to a future where death is merely a brief downtime while the latest operating system is downloaded. It’s a chilling vision and one reflected in the slightly macabre improvised musical finale featuring the audience’s own death wishes.

Life itself is full of success and failure, the serious and the surreal and perhaps that’s what is the intention here but the overall memory is that of the performances and not of any dramatic cohesion.

Reviewed on 7 June 2017 | Image: Contributed


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