The performance concerns the Department of Existence and Death (D.E.A.D.) who are tasked with determining the final resting place in eternity for those who have recently died. Kate (Kate Hunter) or as she is known, case 4365-L, is proving to be a difficult case to resolve. We follow the hapless bureaucrats of D.E.A.D. as they try all manner of physical gestures to try and get Kate to reveal her secrets so that they can assign her with the best of all eternities.
The physical theatre work is exceptional and the ensemble (mostly graduates from the John Bolton School), are comfortable with each other on stage and bring a comedy and most surprisingly a musicality to their performances. Although some of the comedy at times seems a little obvious and it would be wonderful to see these performers surprise themselves a little more, and in turn their audience.
Where D.E.A.D. really lacks cohesion though, is in its story and overall narrative. While physical theatre/bouffant as a form doesn’t always rely upon creating stories, Company 13 have clearly decided to attempt this in creating this performance. The problem is that in D.E.A.D. some of the scenes don’t contribute anything to the story of Kate and her predicament, which means that the story doesn’t sustain the performance’s 60 minute running time.
While this performance with some tightening could be a great Comedy Festival show, the real joy in D.E.A.D. is the balance that Company 13 finds between comedy and pathos that when properly harnessed will yield a really powerful universal theatrical experience. At times this work feels more like a workshop, but this is a performance and a company to watch, as their ideas are unique and given the right time and support they will be producing excellent theatre. I look forward to seeing D.E.A.D. in its next incarnation (no pun intended).
La Mama presents
D.E.A.D. (Department of Existence and Death)
Written and performed by Company 13
Venue: La Mama at the Carlton Courthouse, 349 Drummond Street, Carlton
Dates: February 6 – February 16, 2008
Times: Wednesdays and Sundays at 6.30pm, Thursdays to Saturdays at 8.00pm
Tickets: $20 (full) / $10 (conc.)
Duration: 60 minutes approx.
Bookings: 9347 6142