Writer/Director: Rachael Savage
In their most recent offering Dead Good, mask maestros Vamos Theatre have teamed up with Corn Exchange, Newbury and London International Mime Festival to create a poignant piece exploring our relationship with death. While it sounds like the making of a rather dreary evening of theatre, Vamos have managed to expertly complement the sadder moments with plenty of humour and a wonderful feel-good ending. One only had to listen to the raucous audience laughter, later replaced by sniffles, to acknowledge that Vamos Theatre had created the perfect balance between comedy and tragedy.
Dead Good tells the story of a blossoming friendship between Bob and Bernard; two men who had both been diagnosed with cancer and are receiving end of life care at a Hospice. As is often the case with a cancer diagnosis, Bob doesn’t initially respond well to Bernard’s attempts to get to know each other but Bernard’s irreverent nature and zest for life eventually wins Bob round and before long the two men are escaping from the Hospice to take trips to the beach and drunkenly galivant around the Ritz.
Aron De Casmaker and James Greaves are outstanding as Bob and Bernard and are supported wonderfully by Angela Laverick as Marie and Joshua Patel as Shefali. All performers deliver a masterclass in mime but also, through their wordless gestures and beautifully crafted glances, create a subtle and gentle portrayal of the indescribable experience of grief. Janie Armour provides a musical score which fittingly heightens the emotional punch of this piece, never allowing it to become overly sentimental or cheapen the subject matter.
Vamos Theatre emanates warmth throughout this production, and they have undoubtedly approached this topic and all those that they have encountered along the way with a humbling degree of love and sensitivity. The result is a mesmerising and life-affirming piece of theatre.
Reviewed on 7 February 2020