Theatre Review: Dead and Breathing, Unity Theatre, Liverpool

                  Image Source: Unity Theatre

Written By: Alison Jones

Format: Play
Genre: Comedy Drama
Date: February 8 2018
Location: Unity Theatre, Liverpool

On a dark and rainy Thursday evening, I made my first ever visit to the Unity Theatre in Liverpool. This bright and clean, small but perfectly formed former synagogue has been converted from a photographic studio to a theatre with every modern facility and a great bar.

Chisa Hutchinson’s play Dead and Breathing opens in the intimate venue, the audience close enough to the stage to pick up every word, expression and sigh from the two cast members which didn’t leave any room for error during the 93-minute long show.

The set, simply comprising a bathroom and bedroom, seemed to be enough of a setting for this play, which had the audience involved from start to finish.

Carolyn (Lizan Mitchell) is a petite, older lady who has been ill with cancer for some time, and although living a very privileged life, no amount of money is going to make her well. Her idea of a way out is still manufactured though and with a sharp tongue and embattled attitude to life, Carolyn decides to ask her new carer, Nurse Veronika (Kim Tatum), to help her.

A final injection is what’s required, and after checking with her solicitor, a tempting offer of millions of dollars is made to Veronika to help send Carolyn on her way. However, Veronika is a devout Christian (despite swearing like a trooper), and a power struggle commences with both sides putting their valid arguments forward.

As well as the moral and ethical dilemmas, religion and blackmail, sexual prejudice comes into play after some unexpected developments.

This enjoyable play kept the audience engaged right until the very end, the admirable energy levels sustained from both actors for the whole performance. There is a sudden twist at the ending which wasn’t unexpected, but made for a much happier outcome. Thought-provoking.

Overall Rating: 8/10 – Very Good