A Dead Man's Dying

Esteban Navajas Cortes, in a new adaptation by Davey Anderson
National Theatre of Scotland and Òran Mór production
A Play, a Pie and a Pint Traverse Theatre, Edinburgh
(2011)

A Play, a Pie and a Pint publicity image

Don Agustino (Lewis Howden) lies rigid on his death bed, his wife and tenants gathered round to mourn the landowner's passing, but once tenants have departed Agustino jumps out of bed. This is an amusing little bedroom romp about a tyrannical landlord trying to get one over the peasants who are starting to rebel against him.

His wife Carmen (Anne Lacey) is in on the scheme, but her failure to play the mourning wife convincingly threatens the scheme. Lacey gives a good neurotic performance. Indeed the the couple come across as really rather crazy, paranoid about the many people below them rising up against them.

Though the charade is enjoyable to begin with and its easy to root for the landowner playing a trick, as the play unfolds they soon lose any sympathy you might have for them. Events come to light and the play gets darker.

Howden and Lacey have fun bouncing around on the bed but Agustino, it becomes clear, is no saint let alone Christ resurrected. The tenants Otilia (Mairi Morrison) and Benigno (Barrie Hunter) are less jovial, step-by-step they coolly get their revenge.

A well balanced black comedy, with the comedy coming especially from the over-dramatic Carmen and the sinister side developed by the emotionless unsmiling Otilia and Benigno.

Reviewer: Seth Ewin