Cast Breathe Life and Laughter Into The Seriously Dead Show

Theatre Severn

11/June/2017

Seriously Dead, you’ll die laughing , read the flyer to this rather unlikely show starring Frazer Hines (Emmerdale.) and Chrissy Rock (Benidorm.) Brave claims indeed; however they turned out to be a little spurious and luckily as many audience members that arrived alive,  left quite well and clearly still kicking!

However “Seriously Dead,” is as camp as a Pontin’s Holiday and although the show is about multiple heterosexuality with a lot of serial marrying going on the humour was incredibly tongue in cheek and perhaps a little gayer than some might have expected. I think John Inman and Larry Grayson might enjoy the show? Got the picture?

The cast were very clever however, there is an overall feeling of pantomimic innocence about the show and the characters were drawn to an  immensely large scale. Still slightly two dimensional, each character was formed as uncomplicated as possible to allow the humour to work. Of course it did on the level it was set and one feels that there were a couple of cheap laughs that didn’t need to be there and brought down the quality of the otherwise pacey dialogue.

It was hard to determine what the show was really about. It expected us to believe in heaven and the pearly gates and Angels and all that other stuff. If you approach this show as an atheist and aren’t prepared to suspend you’re views this show won’t work. It relies on a thoroughly old fashioned and conventional form of religion where we all live our lives and go to heaven if we have been good. Mmmmmm? Not quite Pinteresque I know, But like Pinter's work there were indeed many Brechtian devises.  Often characters would talk directly out to the audience and completely destroy any fourth wall that might have been constructed earlier. It worked though and moved the narrative forward.

Another Brechtian device that one finds pleasing is the seamless transition from dialogue to song. This was a likeable, exciting and  if not, a surprising aspect and all the cast sang beautifully and danced very well indeed. But one goes back to asking why? Does it matter if the songs are well sung and the dialogue flows fast and cleverly, if there is no real controlling idea? It is hard to understand what this show is actually saying.

Overall it went down well and although it was by no means a full house,  the majority of the audience that were there seemed willing to embrace the entire concept, laugh at all the jokes and enjoyed themselves massively. Others sat quietly hoping the last song might not be way over length……..alas!

Why on earth, one asks, does a company tour a show with no programme on sale? Was there a conceit that maybe everyone will recognise the cast so not bothering with making a programme would make sense? I doubt it was that but sadly the audience left not knowing who directed, who designed and who produced? Odd choice that. One still has no idea

Overall this is a harmless show. The cast love it as they are happy to corpse at the drop of the hat However, it’s a very thin line between comedy and farce. Comedy is in: Farce isn’t! It is a brave company that choose to walk that tightrope and more power to them for trying. But when they wrong foot the tightrope and slip into Bryan Rix style farce it creaks and groans like an old wooden ship!

Didn’t quite reach the boil.

This is a Three Star Review

Owen J.Lewis

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Owen Lewis Owen Lewis

Owen Lewis was born fifty something years ago in the land of the black puddings. For the geographically challenged that is in Lancashire. Moving to Shropshire From 1970 Owen was brought up in Church Stretton. His first real job was in radio. After starting on BBC Radio Shropshire he became known on Marcher Sound, broadcasting throughout the North West for several years. After a university degree course in Theatre, Owen became an actor and went on to play "Pirate Bill" in The Alton Towers Hotel. He also made several television appearances. Returning to university he took his PGCE enabling him to teach. That saw him on the Essex coast as a drama teacher and latterly as a Creative Educational Liaison Officer making films and creating new teaching methods to employ on children in need of more help in their fundamental learning skills. Published playwright Owen ultimately wants a house boat in Amsterdam to focus on his work as Playwright and Poet.

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