A show about death won’t be everyone’s cup of tea. Kill Me Now comes with a trigger warning but that doesn’t do full justice to the abundance of death covered in this hour-long show. And it’s not just a show about death. It’s a funny show about death – likely to be some people’s worst nightmare. That said, if you have the stomach (or the guts) for it, it’s a ballsy, ebullient musing on why we find death so difficult to deal with.
Anna Morgan Jones runs her own business: Joyful Endings. It’s a company set up to create funerals that celebrate life rather than dwelling on death. She describes herself as a “grief guru”. And we’re invited to (and to tweet about) her Zoom webinar that promises to let us into the secret of how she created a “pandemic proof six figure salary business”. We’re shown an array of fetching merchandise – cheerful coffins, adorable urns, a variety of alternative funeral vehicles. And along the way, we’re invited to share our own thoughts about our own “dream” funeral. But things start to unravel partway through the uplifting introduction to the franchise and it becomes clear that all endings might not be quite as joyful as Morgan Jones makes out.
This is a cracking play from Welsh writer, Rhiannon Boyle. You’ve got to be fairly audacious to take this topic on and Boyle sails through her baptism (cremation?) by fire with flying colours. The script is sharp, funny, teeters on the edge of dubious taste but never tips over to the wrong side. Mali Tudno Jones makes light work of the buoyantly sincere presenter, effortlessly corralling all of our feedback into something that feels suspiciously like a group endeavour, albeit a virtual one. (And she has a lovely Welsh accent!) Jorge Lizalde‘s videography is great fun. And kudos to Boyle or Dirty Protest Theatre for having the webinar both signed (Sam Boyd) and live captioned (Claire Anderson).
Kill Me Now is smart, sly and funny but be prepared for Ms Morgan Jones shoving an unexpected hand into your guts to grab a handful of intestines and give them a wee wrench before she’s done with you. Death is messy, brutal and unbearable and there’s a nod to that too.