THEATRE REVIEW: The Complete Deaths ★★★
The Complete Deaths
Warwick Arts Centre
Friday 7th October, 2016
Spymonkey, a theatre company described as the ‘UK’s leading physical theatre company’, presents ‘The Complete Deaths’, a production that depicts all 75 deaths in Shakespeare, well 76 deaths, if that counts themselves for presenting this production. Now I have seen many of Shakespeare's plays over my lifetime, so being able to see those that I am less familiar with is quite educational for me, and so by the end of the evening, not only did I find myself feeling educated more in Shakespeare, but also found myself beaming when leaving the auditorium.
I say this for the fact I laughed… a lot! I really loved how creative some of the deaths were, some plays mixed in with each other to heighten the comedy! With Spymonkey being a 4 piece company, you can instantly feel the charisma and energy between the actors on stage and how much they loved performing in front of us; a few highlights of this production was the mincer sequence, where around 10 characters were killed in the space of 2 minutes, and Cinna’s death in Julius Caesar, which was created through the use of newspaper puppetry, a real genius idea which I enjoyed.
There was also a moment in the first act when they did a death from ‘Troilus and Cressida’ which they portrayed through music, as they hit each other with tubes, making a musical theme, which I thought was hilarious. There are so many sequences which I could mention here that I thought was equally brilliant, like getting Tom, an audience member up to help with Brutus’s death in Julius Caesar for example, because it was improvised and had amazing stage presence, but the one that will stick out for me in this production would be the Othello sequence, where they used shadow finger puppets that had me howling with laughter!
What was so clever about this production also was how the performers linked the deaths of Shakespeare's characters to themselves, and a perfect example was when the company decided to get rid of Toby, one of the performers, because he was too strict on the performers and restricted them from having fun; a real genius way of linking both the plays to the actors situations.
Overall, The Complete Deaths was witty, hilarious, innovative and all round hilarious, making a perfect evening out to the theatre, and making me really excited for what Spymonkey create next!