Cast Breathe Life and Laughter Into The Seriously Dead Show

Theatre Severn


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


Sofia Lewis Sofia Lewis
For many years Sofia wrote here under her male name Owen J. Lewis. She is now mostly writing under her own name of Sofia Lewis. Sofia, who worked on independent radio for over ten years, lives in Shrewsbury and writes plays. She has over 15 titles published and her plays are performed all over the world. She is especially popular in America. Her poetry is also often noted and she writes reams of it most weeks. Since graduating in theatre in 1997 Sofia has been an Actor, Filmmaker, and a Secondary School Teacher. Reviewing theatre is something she thoroughly enjoys and she loves to see great theatre. As a musician Sofia is known throughout the UK she is a folk singer, and is often seen or heard around her native county singing and having fun. Sofia has contributed to for over a decade and enjoys sharing her views on theatre. Sofia has one daughter and grew up in Church Stretton.

Read More from Sofia Lewis