Death Song

You Need Me
Udderbelly Pasture

When a show comes highly recommended it will always suffer from a sense of let down. Death Song is such a play. The story of Mexican immigrant Juan and his shut-in daughter Pauline is a fragmentary thing, prone to confusion and a level of audience bafflement and discomfort. As the play recounts his failed love affair with a local woman, the action is interposed with later events when he is on death row, pleading with an English school teacher to help him with his appeal.

The actors give their all, each one utterly inhabiting the roles they play: on that account truly nothing but praise should be given. However the story is unclear for the vast majority of the runtime as the mystery, instead of capturing the interest, leaves the audience confused as myriad scenes follow one another and turn out to be essentially unnecessary. The staging makes good use of the space, but in the steep climb of the Udderbelly's Dairy Room, it makes it almost impossible for the front rows to see the events occurring at the rear of stage.

Reviewer: Graeme Strachan

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