When I was invited to see a show about Death personified, my mind immediately went to the world of Terry Pratchett and filled with capital letters. However ‘Death Suits You’ brings us a fresh and new perspective on Death, and the frustration he feels at his work being under appreciated.
With an original book, lyrics and score by Sam Hooper (who also plays Death in this one-man show) and Robert Tripolino, their vision of Death is a fascinating one. Sam Hooper looks every bit the put upon civil servant, fed up of not recognised for the artistry of his work.
Here the role of Death expands beyond our final moments, to one of an artist influencing our lives from the beginning in order to create his masterpieces. With songs, spoken word, dance and even a spot of iambic pentameter, Death shares case studies of some of his greatest achievements. As all us humans have a certain amount of free will, he also tells of when we have rebelled and ruined the beauty of his Art. Because one thing is clear, while Death may nudge us towards our planned ends, we fight him all the way.
There is an engaging quirkiness to the show. Sam Hooper is a versatile and talented performer who shifts between different forms of storytelling and individual death stories with great skill. I found the dance sequences particularly enthralling.
The set is plain and utilitarian, reminiscent of yet another faceless cubicle in a giant office building. I’d not been to Theatro Technis before and their performance space provides a wonderful blank canvas for Sam Hooper to fill with his tales of life and death. After all you can’t have life without death.
Gabrielle Scawthorn directs the show with a clean and crisp vision, giving both the many laughs, and darker moments, the space to land. And despite some particularly tragic tales, no excessive sentimentality sneaks in. Which makes sense, after all, as far as Death is concerned we should all be a lot more appreciative of the efforts he goes to for us.
So are we all horribly ungrateful? Should we be more impressed by the efforts Death makes on our behalf? You’ll have to see ‘Death Suits You’ and decide for yourselves.
‘Death Suits You’ runs at the Theatro Technis at 8pm until Sunday 25th August.