Review: The Exquisite Corpse @ Southwark Playhouse

By Londonist Last edited 116 months ago
Review: The Exquisite Corpse @ Southwark Playhouse

exquisitecorpse.gif Roll up roll up! Last chance to get a dose of audience participation and thought-provoking entertainment from True/Fiction’s The Exquisite Corpse at the Southwark Playhouse.

Most of us have probably played the game Consequences. The one where you draw a head, fold the paper and someone else draws a body, and someone else the legs, with hilarious and sometimes disturbing results. Invented by the Surrealists this game can also be played with words, which is what True/Fiction have done. Far from being panto like in its demands on the audience, the viewers’ role is subtle yet significant; choosing the order the scenes will be played in prior to each performance.

A superb and innovative collaboration between five writers and five actors, the 15 scenes and 6 million potential combinations means there is never a dull moment in this ever changing play as the cast adapt to each night’s individual running order. As your personalised show takes shape, links between the scenes begin to emerge; common characters and common themes, from death to dogs to devastation. As the play weaves its one of a kind story, an idea of what might have been if the scenes were played out in order begins to emerge. But the enticing and engaging effect of the play’s individuality makes the idea of seeing it in order almost unappealing.

The cast are energetic and the on stage scene changes add something extra to the performance. Alex Beckett’s versatility as a performer stands out with his portrayals of such varied characters, and whatever order the scenes are played in the poignant moments and real life issues that are touched upon make quite an impact. From moving soliloquies to disturbing monologues and laugh out loud animal imitations, this is theatre that magically combines edge of the seat entertainment with thought-provoking dialogue. The scenes still seem to cleverly intertwine even when out of their logical order. It is not to be missed. This is ‘for one night only’ for real.

By Sarah Dean

The Exquisite Corpse runs until 30 May at Southwark Playhouse, Shipwright Yard (Corner of Tooley St. & Bermondsey St.) SE1. Tickets £8, available online and on the door.

Last Updated 21 May 2009