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Dying For It - Moira Buffini


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Been meaning to write that I went to see this when it was running at the end of July.

The Bridewell Theatre is a small, charming building located off New Bridge St/Fleet St. It would no doubt be cosy in the autumn/winter months, but perhaps a bit warm on the hottest day of the year! Despite this minor discomfort, I thoroughly enjoyed the play, brought to us by the Tower Theatre Company and its band of players (including our Bill Boyd of course!). The premise was that a down-on-his-luck unemployed, bit of a good-for-nothing young man, Semyon (marvelously played by Justin Stahley), decides the world will be better off without him, so plans to commit suicide. This info gets out via his friend Alexander (Adrian Calvi-Valderrama), who makes a few roubles introducing various factions - the church (represented by our Bill as Father Yelpidy - the 'mad' priest), the intellectuals, the romantics, revolutionaries, the poets - all of whom want him to direct his suicide note to enhance their own particular cause, his death being a rallying cry for their followers (and to generate more followers!). The dark comedy comes out of their increasingly desperate pleas for him to pick THEIR cause above the others. The night the deed to be done, they all get rather jolly on the vodka in a 'celebratory' party, and when its time to do the deed, Semyon is so drunk, he misses with the gun pressed to his head. More bleak humour as he then lies in the coffin, whilst the rest try to take advantage of his 'death'. All the cast were spot on with their portrayals, and the intervals/starts were marked by a couple of particularly enigmatic musicians wandering into the stage area, with knowing glances at the audience, as if letting us in on the joke.

A great night's entertainment for a little entrance fee, the enthusiasm by all concerned  - from the ushers to the leading actors - made for a top night. I will undoubdedly be going again.

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