Creator: Louise White
Director: Louise White
Reviewer: Ciara L. Murphy
Combine one actor (Lucy Miller), one pianist/mezzo-soprano (Michelle O’Rourke), and one dancer (Phillip Connaughton) and what do you get? A funeral, obviously.
This is the funeral of our lives, and creator Louise White creates a charming and participatory method of presenting us with the inevitability of our own demise. Turns out, there’s a lot to like about considering your own death.
The show starts with White imploring the audience to move closer to the large proscenium stage. Acknowledging that This is the Funeral of Your Life usually plays in studio spaces, White encourages us to bridge the formal distance between audience and performance. It is true that this piece would have worked better in a studio space, but it is a testament to the production and its team that it works well in the Town Hall Theatre’s cavernous auditorium.
Audience participation, the dread of many a spectator, is a large part of this show. But it is innovatively interwoven with the performance content and provides charm, enlightenment, and hilarity throughout. Truthfully, this production wouldn’t be the same without a game audience, and Galway is happy to deliver just that.
The set, designed by Lian Bell, is simple and functional. It provides the backdrop for all of the many elements of this show. Its fluidity allows us to suspend disbelief and be transported from the Town Hall stage to a hotel kitchen and a church and back again, all without breaking the spell.
Miller and Connaughton are a likeable and competent duo. Their onstage chemistry is one of the main driving forces of the plot. O’Rourke’s musical accompaniment is well delivered, with her haunting version of Joy Division’s ‘Love Will Tear Us Apart’ one of the standout moments of the show.
There is so much going on in this production, and it should feel cluttered. However, White’s steady direction ensures that balance is maintained. With a run time of just over an hour, This is the Funeral of Your Life is an excellent way to spend an evening.
Who knew you could have so much fun at your own funeral?
Reviewed on 5th February 2018 but on tour across Ireland | Image: Contributed