52 Souls, Chronic Insanity (online) - ★★★ - Until September 6, 2020


Do life and death depend upon the turn of a card? In this remarkably constructed entertainment written by Joe Strickland and Nat Henderson, no less than fifty-two performers have recorded short monologues. Reactions to mortality and death are put under the microscope, sometimes to devastating effect. The different pieces are viewed over the course of an hour and are randomly available to the viewer depending on which playing card from the pack one turns over. Unsurprisingly, some of the monologues work better than others both in terms of writing and delivery, but the experience is always enthralling. Several pieces stand out, none more so than the very first one I happened to choose: this monologue about the Aztec view of the after-life, is beautifully performed by Helena Rimmer. TL Thompson's very dark monologue about a child finding a dying lady's diaries is charmingly delivered and is accompanied by childlike drawings. It was probably the most poignant point of the evening. The constant reference to death and loss might have been disturbing, but the brevity of each monologue doesn't allow for too much involvement; this can be both an advantage and a stumbling block. Technically the presentation is extremely accomplished and is certainly worth watching even though the serendipitous nature of the show leads to an overall lack of form. This random development can unfortunately result in an anticlimax, as one's enjoyment will depend on which monologues you see and in which order you see them.

Reviewed by D.S.J.

 Our Score:  ☆☆☆ 

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WHEN, WHERE, GETTING THERE:
Until September 6, 2020
Chronic Insanity (online)
Various show times available at:
https://www.tickettailor.com/events/chronicinsanity/382222/

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