You’re Dead Mate
Reviewed – 3rd June 2019
“Teddy Morris creates a refreshingly young, relatable, and quintessentially British take on the mortality tale”
“Death is the wish of some, the relief of many, and the end of all”, so Roman philosopher Seneca mused. The inevitability of death is something that unites us all and happens to take centre stage in the wonderfully witty new short play, You’re Dead Mate, which offers plenty of sincerity along with the laughs.
A young man groggily wakes up from his drunken stupor, to find himself in an unknown room with an overly friendly stranger. Is this kidnap? A prank? A dream? The stranger may be able to answer some of these fears as he soon introduces himself as Death. Through reassuring advice and slap-in-the-face cold, hard truths, Death brings some clarity to the chaos of accepting your fate.
Stories from beyond the grave, about being stuck in a limbo, waiting to move on to a final destination are nothing new. However this playwriting debut from Teddy Morris creates a refreshingly young, relatable, and quintessentially British take on the mortality tale. Death is like a cheeky chappy down the pub, there to help you home when you’ve had one too many bevs, which is a really satisfying interpretation. At points the laddish bickering and scrappy behaviour between the two feels a little monotonous, going around and around in circles, but it doesn’t take long before Morris finds his footing again and hits the emotional crux of the story, providing depth and authentic reflection upon making the most of life. He certainly proves himself as an adept writer to look out for in the future.
Both Morris and Harry Duff Walker give brilliant turns as Death and his newest customer. Walker goes on a real journey of disbelief, anger, fear, heartbreak, and acceptance, gliding through these extreme gear changes with ease. It’s a pleasant surprise to see Death go on his own type of journey as his faith in his occupation wavers. Morris being the playwright, clearly feels at one with the material, giving a performance that makes it seem so plausible that Death could act like your best mate.
The encounter between Death and the young man all takes place within a wonderfully dingy basement that echoes more student accommodation than office: second-hand furniture, bottles of booze lined up, wallpaper peeling etc. this certainly makes for no grand exit from Planet Earth. Light and sound Designer Louis Caro does a nice job with the flickering light to signal when it is your time to pass on, even if the story does then fall back on the ‘walking into the white light’ cliche by the end.
A quirky and unexpected delight, there’s a plethora of funny moments to laugh at as well as those more tender points too. You’re left with a compelling feeling to leave the theatre and make the most of your life, as you never know when you might be sitting with Death opposite, offering you a Fosters (as pleasant as that actually sounds). This dead good production is certainly worth a trip six foot under for.
Reviewed by Phoebe Cole
You’re Dead Mate
Katzpace until 5th June
Previously reviewed at this venue: