Am I Dead Yet?
3 stars ***
Traverse Theatre (Venue 15)
THERE MUST BE a great show to be written, sometime soon, about what happens to the human psyche when science reaches a point where death, the great equaliser and the one shared certainty of human life, begins to seem no longer inevitable.
It’s clear almost from the outset, though, that this gentle meditation from Unlimited Theatre of Leeds, presented in suitably vulnerable-looking pants and vests by co-authors Chris Thorpe and Jon Spooner, is not that show. It’s rather a light-touch late-night cabaret, with songs sung by the cast and sometimes by the audience, that offers a slightly unresolved mix of intriguing information about the latest medical advances in reversing the process we call death, and exploration of our attitudes to the dead and dying, to the treatment of dead bodies or body parts, and to the prospect of our own eventual extinction.
The show – written in collaboration Dr. Andy Lockyer of the UK Resuscitation Council – sometimes has the feel of a well-worked up health education project, as its accompanying leaflet urges us to find a “Death Cafe” somewhere near us, and talk through our end-of life issues. Thorpe and Spooner are charismatic performers, though, full of energy and style; and those who spend a calming 45 minutes watching this show are likely to emerge much better informed, although not necessarily very much wiser.