Writer: Laura Wade
Director: Daisy Rodger & Flora Marston
Reviewer: Deborah Klayman
The Public Reviews Rating:
Exeter University Theatre Company’s ambitious production of Laura Wade’s 2005 play, Breathing Corpses is simply and effectively staged and well acted throughout. Essentially constructed from a series of scenes that overlap and link through in a cycle, the play looks at the realities and effects of death on its seven characters.
Emma Killip gives a excellent opening performance as Amy in a scene that is in actuality a monologue, taking place after she discovers the body of a man who has committed suicide in the hotel where she works. In the following vignettes we discover the reason for his self-inflicted death, and meet the other people who contributed to it. Sam Rix is both likeable and sensitive as Jim, and is entirely believable as a man traumatised by tragedy, while Chloe Young and Alex Appleby provide strong support. Other noteworthy performances come from Rosa Brooks (Kate) and Tom Chapman (Ben), whose dysfunctional and destructive relationship touch on the taboo subject of male domestic abuse victims. Brooks is full of unmitigated rage, yet manages to be almost sympathetic despite playing a character with few redeeming features. Chapman too gives a layered performance as a man deeply in love but pushed to the edge.
The play in itself is slightly problematic, returning as it does to the opening character, Amy, in a scenario that destroys any linear narrative that seemed to exist. The character of Charlie, although played admirably by Dan Hartley, is underdeveloped and seems to serve as a quick-fix way to end the play rather than being fully rounded like the others. Despite these issues, the fine performances make it enjoyable to watch and some uncomfortable subjects are well addressed.
Until 27th AugustEdinburgh Fringe: Breathing Corpses – Zoo,
Tags: 2012, Alex Appleby, Breathing Corpses, Chloe Young, Daisy Rodger, Dan Hartley, Edinburgh Fringe, Emma Killip, Exeter University Theatre Company, Flora Marston, Laura Wade, Rosa Brooks, Sam Rix, Theatre, Tom Chapman, Zoo