“DEATH. IT’S A FUNNY THING …” – A REVIEW OF SELL-BY-DATE
Comedy filled with awkward pauses and scenes you wouldn’t normally be caught dead laughing at in public, Sell-By-Date is not your typical afternoon viewing. Four students throw caution to the wind with a dissertation piece to remember. Joe, Marcus, Sophie and Ashley give us front row seats to a theatre performance that engages audiences from all angles. Sell-By-Date is an emotional ride from start to finish with a black comedy twist to some hard to address issues surrounding death.
Technically, the performance was sound. The four actors participating dealt with most set changes and progressions and all of which were done seamlessly and professionally. On that note, one particular scene change was done exceptionally well considering how badly it could have ended for one of the actors. (May contain nuts.)
Joseph Derrington, was the self-proclaimed comic of the group, part of which was to perform some rather controversial stand up which weaved its way into his character’s overarching story. His presence carried a lot of scenes, even through the emotional weight behind them. And his musical number was spot on and integral to the whole performance.
Sophie and Ashley performed some moving spoken word pieces (both written by Ashley) that concluded the story arcs behind their main characters. Ashley, who played a mute character for a majority of his performances, ended with quite an intense physical display of pain that wasn’t made clear until his spoken piece that was an eruption of emotion. The performance element behind Sophie’s was technically very beautiful and so incredibly intricate, yet simple.
We start and finish with Marcus’ character, who we see deteriorate as each scene progresses and we follow the heartache that follows it.
Comedy is used at the most opportune (and perhaps some not so opportune) moments throughout. And yet, the message still gets through. No matter how serious the scenes were, they threw the curve ball of some tongue-in-cheek comedy to bring the whole room back down to earth. The comedy is often seen to further the tragic impact of a particular scene.
Without trying to spoil it, it’s a fantastic and emotional show that may pull on the hearts strings of some and the laughing chords of others. It has a little something for everyone and it tackles some hard hitting realities of life and death.
By Ben Howgill and Taylor-Louise Rowley