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Death becomes her: A Brief List Of Everyone Who Died @finborough

For a natural process, death is not a topic that comes up naturally for people. We ask how people are doing but expect the response to be “I’m great”, not “I’m not dead yet”. And so for the main character in A Brief List of Everyone Who Died, Graciela has a death issue. Starting with when she was five and found out only after the matter that her parents had her beloved dog euthanised. So Graciela decides that nobody she loves will die from then on. And so this piece becomes a fruitless attempt at how she spends her life trying to avoid death while it is all around her. It’s currently having its world premiere  at the Finborough Theatre . As the play title suggests, it is a brief list of life moments where death and life intervene for the main character, from the passing of relatives, cancer, suicides, accidents and the loss of parents. Playwright Jacob Marx Rice plots the critical moments of the lives of these characters through their passing or the passing of those around them. Howeve

Mister cellophane: Christie in Love @KingsHeadThtr

There is always someone that has to takes something too far... Usually it is a joke. Here in Christie In Love, the central message seems to be that Christie's penchant for weird sex practices was a step too far. His punishment was execution. This seemed fitting for a man who indulged in that... And mass murder.

Rough Haired Pointer attempt to understand the motivation of a seemingly dull serial killer John Christie in this production now playing at the Kings Head Theatre.

You get the sense that there is a lot more that this piece could have told. Written in 1969, back then there was probably a greater awareness of the details of the case. This production doesn’t let you in on that.

The play runs about an hour and calls for the action to be played very slowly. This emphasises the tedium and ordinariness of the man committing the horrors and those uncovering it. But it isn’t always easy to watch and may not to be everyone’s taste.

Still for those who are game, there is much to admire. The cartoon police constable (played by Daniel Buckley), is digging the garden looking for evidence and reciting dirty limericks all the time. The pragmatic Inspector (Jake Curran) keeps an emotional distance from the horror.

And then there is Christie. Played by Murray Taylor he isn’t the typical monster. Balding, wheezy and ordinary. With his plimsolls he moves about barely noticed by anyone. The Mister Cellophane of 1950s London, he becomes a chilling and disturbing portrait of a killer.

Along the way there is casual mention to the miscarriages of justice, botched police investigations, war service and disability.

It is a simple yet slick production. A wire pit of newspapers. Old newspapers, is evocative. It is the stuff he wrapped his victims in. It is the source of the salacious stories about him... And it's nice to see someone has found a use for the Daily Mail and Express...

A clever short piece given a stylish theatrical treatment by Rough Haired Pointer. Worth a look. But brush up on your post war serial killers first and be prepared for the unexpected…

Christie In Love, directed by Mary Franklin runs at the Kings Head Theatre until 18 June.


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