REVIEW: The Complete Deaths at The Minerva, Chichester

The Complete Deaths.
The Complete Deaths.
Kings Youth Theatre in rehearsal for Loserville at The Kings, Southsea, from July 21-24. Imogen Thomas, centre. Picture by Anne Dobeson

Kings Youth Theatre asks: Who are you calling a loser? 

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The wonderfully-creative Spymonkey are at The Minerva for a short, six-performance, stay.

The Complete Deaths promises us every single on-stage death (75, apparently) from the works of William Shakespeare in two hours. Now – followers of this type of theatre may be fooled into thinking this is out of the same stable at The Reduced Shakespeare Company’s Complete Works… shows – but it’s not. There’s a very different flavour to this altogether; the comedy here is much crueller, much darker.

A cast of four (with contributions from the stage-manager and an unsuspecting member of the public) move at breakneck speed through the deaths in many and varied ways. These range from the cast being put through a giant mincer for Titus Andronicus (a great visual gag) to a rather bizarre interpretation of Macbeth with the cast in rubber kilts and very little else (this show is definitely not for people afraid of the naked male body).

The ensemble cast – Aitor Basauri, Stephan Kreiss, Toby Park and the wonderful Petra Massey – deliver the iambic pentameter, comedy, singing and musicianship with equal precision.

This is clever, intelligent comedy that expects as much of its audience as they should expect of it.

Until Saturday.