Morbid Curiosity

Production: Morbid Curiosity
Venue: Drama Barn
Review: Dave Coates
Rating: * * * *

Dominic Allen’s absurdly and gleefully violent farce ran this week in the Drama Barn, a showcase of physical comedy and tech department creativity.

Matt Springett and Jethro Compton star as Dr Hart and Flint, two (ostensibly) unassuming coroners in a bleak vision of the future in which England rules the globe and Gibraltar is a hellish island prison. A missing batch of livers alerts the authorities, embodied in the terrifyingly anarchic civil servants Morgan (Jamie Wilkes) and Lambert (Lucy Farrett).

Allen’s depiction of civil servants is less than flattering. The play focuses on the investigation into the missing organs, unearthing the brutal personal histories of Hart and his boss Leach (the joyously prim Simon Maeder), and some uncomfortable home truths.

The set is remarkably creative, and makes terrific use of the limited space of the Barn. Wilkes’ performance is on a relentlessly high level, while the quasi-romantic relationship between Hart and Flint is often genuinely touching. The recurrent, government-enforced ‘happy minute’ is an amusing conceit, and allows for a nightmarish, yet highly creative, fight scene worthy of the more brutal elements of professional wrestling.

The play could do with being a shade shorter, and one or two gags fell flat, but that is nit-picking. Morbid Curiosity was an entertaining and professionally executed student performance.