Camden Fringe review: Glad To Be Dead

The premise of this show, written by mother-daughter team Donna and Jade Flack, and produced through Make It Mine Theatre (MIM), is that of monologues from the other side, where each spirit has a room with a window to see across time.

Using both factual and fictional characters, male and female, criminals and victims, Glad To Be Dead brings a variety of stories to the stage in this intimate show.

Bookended by Jade Flack’s Casper the Friendly Ghost (based on a child who died young, from the cold), the show weaves through a series of stories brought to life by the three-person cast.

Some stories work more than others, with Bruce Murray’s louche turn as Dorian Gray (poking fun at the modern selfie trend), and Barbara Llewellyn’s two pieces as Irish murderer Kate Webster (sharp and gleeful) and the touching story of Elizabeth Francis, Salem witch, being particularly effective.

Promotional image for Glad To Be Dead

Flack takes on an underwritten Anne Boleyn (there’s much more to her story and we know so much already) and the tragic story of Reyna Angélica Marroquín, killed when young, pregnant, and naive by her married lover, and not at peace until years later when her body was discovered.

She also contributes, with Murray, a Jekyll and Hyde duologue, which doesn’t quite come alive until towards the end. Perhaps this may work with an off-stage voice given the split personality described in Stevenson’s novella?

The pacing for this show is generally good, with period costume and set dressing keeping proceedings fresh. I wanted to know a little more about where the spirits are, with the mysterious knocking and many locked doors, as that was fascinating.

Glad To Be Dead, which continues its tour after Camden, has lots to recommend it, and the Flacks have chosen a strong variety of subjects for a hardworking trio.

It closes at the Hen & Chickens on 3 Aug: tickets here. For details of more performances, visit the theatre company website.


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