Breathing Corpses

You could be forgiven for thinking “Breathing Corpses” is a second rate stage attempt on the film 28 Days Later complete with rabid zombies hell-bent on destroying the world.

On the contrary, “Breathing Corpses”” (Street Theatre, Jul/Aug 2007) is a play based around the lives of several people all connected through death. It explores many confronting issues including depression, death and anger with the four interlocking stories demonstrating the effect one action can have on complete strangers.

The play is somewhat disjointed at the start as the audience tries to make sense of how these characters are connected. The story flows back and forth in time leaving us to fit the pieces into a sequential time line. As the lights dim between each scene we are given a preview of what may happen next with visual and audio cues projected on a screen high up on the wall.

The set is a clever manipulation of two facing walls. Drawers cover each wall and can be moved in and out to various lengths to create several different scenes. Director and set designer said the ‘boxes were symbolic as well, as so much of the play revolves around boxes’

The third scene was a complete standout as it demonstrated the completely raw and uncensored emotions between a feuding couple. As the two continue to fight and argue, we start to wonder how much is acting. The scene is incredibly powerful and emotive, however you do start to feel slightly agitated at the situation, so much so that at one point I almost left the room.

The ending was completely lost on me and I don”t think I was the only one. All it took was a glance at the bewildered faces around me to gauge that I wasn”t alone. Despite this, “Breathing Corpses” is a powerful and emotive thriller that should not be missed.

Written by Laura Wade and directed by Barb Barnett, Camilla Blunden and Justine Campbell.

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