Review: Raise your hands if you Want Dad to Die !, Theatre5 03
503 Resets Raise your hands if you Want Dad to Die! is a title that from the off say to you so much about what you need to know. The assertion is that due to medical promotions, it is now possible to swap a terminal illness from one person to another. So that’s the dilemma facing the family; debating whether dad should sacrifice himself to save mum, who has just hours to live. It’s a great concept, extremely alongside the company’s goal statement of “producing nonsensical, political comedy which reflects on working class stories”. And to be fair, scattered throughout are …
A promising thought that at times shines, but where the promise is lost in the debris of too many aims at inexpensive laughs.
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Raise Your Hand if you Want Dad to Die! is a title that from the off tells you so much better about what you need to know. The assertion is that due to medical advancements, it is now possible to swap a terminal illness from one person to another. So that’s the quagmire facing the family; debating whether dad should relinquish himself to save mum, which has recently hours to live.
It’s a great thought, especially alongside the company’s mission statement of “producing preposterous, political slapstick which reflects on working class stories”. And to be fair, sowed throughout are enough laugh out loud minutes to suggest there is a great show to be had here. But early on it becomes all too obvious that any huge show is currently hidden under too much baggage, as it tries to be too many things all at once. Merging political humor and satire is possible. Now, though, both elements are just too weak, too obvious, to really shine. What starts promisingly ends with relief that it is over. It is a real shame as there is plenty to affection if you can muddle through the excesses.
What this movement genuinely needed before it was unleashed upon an gathering is person brave enough to question some of its choices. It is beyond explanation as to why a performance taking aim at the government’s handling of the NHS decided what was also required was a questionable priest with room too many references to young sons, or a medical salesman for this new wonder treatment preparing jokes about the daughter’s breast size and having a penchant to stealing from pocketbooks. And let’s not even mention the dodgy Health Minister, fashioned without any apology on Matt Hancock, causing laughs about his affair with his advisor that have already aged seriously. Mostly, this frolic propels everything in the concoction and in doing so entirely loses focus on what it first set out to be.
And that is what is most frustrating; that there is clearly a great play buried in now somewhere. The perception alone should allow for plenty of screams and minutes of enlightenment about the value of life and what you would do if given the choice to die in place of someone you affection. When mum and dad, Paula and Nevin( Emma Richardson and Joshua Ford) have a moment alone to discuss the pros and cons of which of them should die, for a few minutes it is a wonderful and reflective gambling. There is discussion as to whether she has lived a full soul whilst he has consumed his away, and who would utter best exert of more years. In that single remove “youre seeing” what this play-act could, should, have been. It is then devastated immediately in the next background as their grown-up children, Roger and Tasha( James Georgiou and Rachelle Grubb) discuss how many times she got fingered by some chap. Certainly? Why? What is the point in such a scene? I have no problem with simple smut but here it really feels completely out of place.
I left Theatre5 03 so disappointed. There were pestering peeks of a real play trying hard to get out. But right now, we instead got a lot of screaming and shouting, dodgy clergymen and hackneyed jokes about Hancock having it away with his advisor. Working class fibs deserve better than this.
Written by: Clare O’FlahertyDirected by: Coral TarranProduced by: Maciek Zdobylak for Dad’s Not Dead Theatre Company
Raise Your Hand if you Want Dad to Die! toy for two nights as part of Theatre5 03′ s 503 Resets season.
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