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Corpse!, Park Theatre – Review

What do you do when you’re a down on your luck actor and your identical twin is wildly successful and rich? Why, plan to have him murdered and take his place, of course. Gerald Moon’s dark farce of murderous twins and a bumbling assassin had a life on the West End and Broadway back in the 80’s for good reason. This show puts a hilariously violent twist on the traditional farce and is definitely a test for staging and blocking that only the most surefooted actors and backstage crews can pass. A definite part of the fun is watching…

Summary

Rating

Excellent

A well done revival that dark comedy fans will love.

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What do you do when you’re a down on your luck actor and your identical twin is wildly successful and rich? Why, plan to have him murdered and take his place, of course. Gerald Moon’s dark farce of murderous twins and a bumbling assassin had a life on the West End and Broadway back in the 80’s for good reason. This show puts a hilariously violent twist on the traditional farce and is definitely a test for staging and blocking that only the most surefooted actors and backstage crews can pass. A definite part of the fun is watching as one actor pops back and forth on stage, switching between two different characters when you were sure they were still lying behind a bed or stuffed in a cupboard; small bits of theatre magic that keep the show running smoothly.

As both fun, overdramatic Evelyn Farrant and stingy, cold Rupert Farrant, Tom York is effortlessly charismatic and showcases impeccable his comedic timing. He manages to switch convincingly between the two twins without missing a beat. While Evelyn Farrant’s descent into madness could be dialled up a bit when the character stops to make promises to his dead mother, Evelyn comes off as a seasoned charmer who we can believe has deeper and more wicked plots afoot. It is a shame we don’t get to see more of York’s Rupert Farrant, who’s icy demeanor creates a man that’s very fun to hate. But there is only so much running back and forth and costume changes you can ask one actor to make.

Felicity Duncan also shines with some great comedic moments as Evelyn’s overly friendly landlady, Mrs McGee. Duncan and York have fantastic chemistry that makes watching them interact incredibly fun. And of course, what farce would be complete without a well-meaning, surprisingly sexual, older woman nearly ruining those carefully laid plans throughout the play?

The only unfortunate thing about the show is that the space didn’t quite feel big enough to accommodate all the actions and shenanigans Moon’s script wants. The use of a rotating set does allow the show to travel between the two brothers’ homes easily, but made it all feel very hemmed in and a tad clumsy. This was especially highlighted during a sword fight at the end. Fight director Liam Bessell did a great job choreographing for the space they have, but it still feels like the level of action and flourishes the scene calls for can’t quite fit on this stage.

Space size aside, this was a high energy and well-done revival. It will absolutely delight fans of farce and dark comedy and this is a great chance to see Corpse! back on stage.

Written by: Gerald Moon
Directed by: Clive Brill
Produced by: Ratfall Productions in association with Park Theatre
Booking Link: https://www.parktheatre.co.uk/whats-on/corpse
Booking Until: 28 March 2020

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