STIFF
BURDALL’S YARD

 
Undertakers, morticians as the Americans call them, don’t often get much of a starring role in theatre. Until now. Kate, personable young and keen practitioner of the undertaker’s cosmetic arts is here at work in the mortuary, chatting to the audience about her fondness for her job despite its macabre nature, while four of her what? clients? patients? customers? lie on slabs with name tags on their toes waiting to be prettied up for their coffins. But not for long, as they soon come to zombie life, or undeadness, to help with her meditations on her life, her job, and what death might mean. It’s all amusing and thought-provoking in its peculiar way, while not quite making strict sense; until the arrival of an unexpected corpse who has a closer connection to Kate than she wants. Things become a tad melodramatic as she goes into an agonised resume about traumas in her past, but is eventually helped in some strange way by the comforting hands of the undead. It’s a strikingly original sort of piece, and though it doesn’t work100%, there’s plenty in it to enjoy in the bizarre visual spectacle, the zombie acting, and Kate’s engaging personality.

 

 
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John Christopher Wood