Thursday 9 November 2017

Am I Dead Yet? @ The Soho Theatre

Am I Dead Yet? @ The Soho Theatre

It’s always a bit disconcerting when you’re asked existential questions before a show even begins…

But Am I Dead Yet? is a show all about existential questions. Namely: what exactly does it mean to be dead? Turns out, it’s not binary. Death is actually a process, a process that can be reversed.

We’ve got science to thank for that, be it through advanced technology or simple CPR. The show is performed by Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe and has been developed in collaboration with Dr Andy Lockey, Honorary Secretary of the Resuscitation Council UK and a man who’s passionate about preventing premature death. There’s even a bit in the middle where a paramedic gives us a demonstration on CPR.

But is this meant to be educational or entertaining? In actuality, it manages to be a bit of both. One minute we’re learning how to resuscitate someone, the next we’re laughing at dry and sarcastic songs from Spooner and Thorpe. The majority of the show consists of stories and anecdotes from the two performers, stories from the past, present and future meant to highlight our changing relationship with death. A story from the past gruesomely details the parts of a man’s body collected by two policemen after a suicide in front of a moving train; from the future we have thought-provoking science-fiction; and most touchingly of all a story of a small child brought back from the dead after she falls into an icy pool.

The two men are great storytellers with jolly banter between them, despite the uncomfortable subject matter that may have you squirming in your seat. This might be a show about death, but it’s performed with surprising warmth. That said, at an hour long there’s only so much that can be done here: its theatrical collage of songs and stories aspires to be more than simply education, yet its dramatic impact is limited. Instead, Am I Dead Yet? is a thinkpiece on death that’s just enlightening enough to get your mind racing – even if your pulse isn’t.


Watch: Am I Dead Yet? runs at the Soho Theatre until 18th November.

Am I Dead Yet? @ The Soho Theatre
Photo: Richard Davenport