Monday, 21 October 2019

Everyone is Dead, Bristol Old Vic

‘Everyone is dead’ is a thought-provoking and quirky piece of theatre that forces the audience to consider humanity at its worse. Written by Charlotte Turner-McMullan it explores a theoretical apocalypse that plunges the world into constant terror and grief – emotions that push society into a frenzied desire to survive. This desire pushes some to despair, some to a faded form of hope, and others to a twisted view of morality.

The plot is slow moving, and entirely wrapped up in the dialogue of Kelly, a 17-year-old girl, and Ashley, a woman Kelly’s father brought home. Kelly is a nervous wreck, haunted and driven on by the memory of those who she thinks died ‘instead’ of her. In contrast, Ashley appears intensely cynical of the world, encouraging Kelly to live for herself rather than others whilst claiming to be fed up of living herself. Little by little the audience are made aware that morals are almost non-existent in this fear-driven world, and that instead of working together people turn against one another in their desperation to survive. 

Carried entirely by the skill of the actresses Florence Espeut-Nickless and Allson Fitzjohn, this unique performance is not exactly ‘gripping’ and yet it does hold its own sort of charm. The scriptwriting is clever and witty, confronting many themes and combining tragedy and humour to present a world that is falling apart. Interlaced throughout the dialogue there are intensely deep moments, highlighted successfully by Florence and Allson as they predominately utilise their tone, and facial expressions in order to engage their audience.

Towards the end I did find myself becoming restless, as the performance became slightly monotonous, the big reveal had been made and still the dialogue continued reiterating points that had already been made moments before. Ultimately however, this was an interesting and engaging new play, essentially thought-provoking and witty throughout, if at times somewhat slow.