Theatre: Dying For It


Liz White and Tom Brooke in Dying For It

In a week of playing theatre catch-up, Friday night I managed to catch Dying For It which is based upon Nikolai Erdman’s once-banned satirical comedy The Suicide. It is a sort of silly story about a man who is propelled into celebrity for announcing he was going to kill himself and pokes fun of all sorts of people in society - particularly post-revolutionary Russian society but I was wondering whether there are any analogies for Islington society as well... I thought there were a number of similarities - artists, the intelligentsia, officials, ideologues, pragmatists, sex workers, unemployed - you get 'em all there...

It is always fun to watch a silly play with a silly person. And that I did by seeing it with An. An loves farces and I think I have seen more farces with him than anybody else and so we were able to laugh out loud at double entendres about socialistic uprisings and sex and the like. Actually we do that anyway (the double entendres not the socialism) so going to a play full of it was as good an excuse as any.

All told the play was great with some very witty lines. The cast were all excellent and particularly Brooke (as Semyon) who played dead so wonderfully well. The set also was also the usual fabulous Almeida standard and added to the lunacy. And you can't have a farce without some door slamming and running up and down stairs so the set worked very well for that...

Oh and there was a great scene about learning to play a tuba. After much struggle (as they are not cheap and he is unemployed) Semyon finally gets a tuba, only to discover that he also needs a piano to help with learning musical scales. Chatting after the play to a flautist he also mentioned that he recently bought a piano to help with his scales. And there I was thinking that was funny. Those woodwind and brass players must have a hell of a time...

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