Am I Dead Yet?
Birmingham Rep Door
Am I Dead Yet? is a collaboration between writers and performers Jon Spooner and Chris Thorpe, directed by Amy Hodge.
We last saw Thorpe at the REP in 2015 with his one man show, Confirmation, which was an excellent portrayal of political extremism. Now, together with Spooner, Am I Dead Yet? is an examination of death, suggesting how we can embrace the subject without fear.
Their message is surprisingly uplifting, considering that this is a story about death. With Spooner and Thorpe’s tasteful interpretation and well developed research, we are encouraged to face death with a sense of knowing that it is inevitable, so we must embrace the current living moment.
They are a force of entertainment, linking scientific knowledge with fun. They invite a doctor on to the stage to deliver a lesson on the correct way to perform CPR, whilst they tell us the process of what happens when our body shuts down.
Spooner and Thorpe are instantly warming and make the audience feel comfortable, which is important as this is a subject not many would choose to talk about. Their style is fantastically outrageous, giving the audience inspiration to embrace life as it is. The play starts as they enter the stage dressed only in their underwear, dancing to rock music.
Their delivery of their script which was written together is incredible and Spooner and Thorpe are excellent writers. This collaboration between the two is a wonderful example of great artistry. They have a story-telling style of performance with a beautiful poetic rhythm.
Their snappy and bouncy lines blend into one narrative with two voices, and their sequences of intertwining lines and continuing the other’s though process is fascinating, which reveals their wonderful on-stage technique. Spooner and Thorpe give a relaxed atmosphere to their performance as they improvise in some places and are never fazed by the spontaneity of the other. It is a beautiful display of talent and mastery of the stage.
While they educate us into the biological factors that take place when our heart suddenly stops beating, there are stories that develop with an engaging narrative. They have a natural flare for making us think about topics in a completely different light. They relay to us the story of two police officers finding a dead body in the 70s or early 80s and of a girl who fell through ice on a pond. They use microphones to give an intensive and dramatic edge to their style of storytelling.
The audience are also heavily involved in the production. Before the performance starts, we are required to write a sentence on how we think we will die. This is developed into a song at the end of the show, where Spooner and Thorpe sing our suggestions in the style of an emotionally charged ballad.
Spooner and Thorpe have a wonderful vision that does not leave the audience feeling uncomfortable or downhearted about death. The theatrical experience that is superb, making us feel good about the lives we live today. They are serious, yet light hearted and are tasteful about the subject of death, always putting the audience first. To 13-05-17