Erdman's play focuses on a man's decision to take his life. He hen decides last minute that he wants to live, but rumour of his attempt , or in this version an online recording of him about to jump, has spread around the community. The following aftermath is a long line of people queueing up to ask him to kill himself for their own personal cause. Love, politics, high-art and more. Eventually he ends up feeling coerced into this suicide by all these outrages requests.
It is a fascinating comedy in its original Russian and here it has been updated to modern day London. Sadly the results are not a fruitful as one would hope. I am all for updating texts and making them accessible to a broader range of society and enabling younger people from different backgrounds to attend the theatre, but alas this piece seems to give us a long list of stereotypes of characters who have no depth. To top it off the play is full of crass and infantile jokes. It isn't quite sure what it is either. It attempts to be a pseudo-sit-com at the same times as a knockabout farce. we are quite literally dealing with sex gags one after the other and if I was a youngster would find it incredibly patronising.
This show has a lot of energy and has had a lot of money thrown at it, but to assume that all young people from a working class background in London all have the same patois is a little patronising. On the one hand it is trying to represent a wider section of society by portraying a story with a variety of people from a mix of different backgrounds and class etc but at the same time it patronises those very people with infantile humour and stereotypes. The cast really put there all into it though and keep the energy up despite all of this. A real shame.
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