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Review of Dying For It performed by University Of Northampton BA Actors at Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton

A man in twenties Russia wants to kill himself. Let's all laugh hysterically, it seems right? Well it does during Moira Buffini adaption of Nikolai Erdman's satirical black comedy, The Suicide. Our protagonist Semyon Semyonovich (a masterful performance by Matt Larsson) has a double barrelled sausage and wants to have an end to it all. Indeed why wouldn't he want to end it? His failure at playing the Tuba because he doesn't have a piano, his most hideous (but, oh so funny) mother-in-law Serafima (a comic mastery performance from Sophie Poyntz Lloyd) always there giving him aggro. Then his wife Masha (a gentle, and very lovely performance from Sarah Kirk) leaves him. He really might as well top himself. If only there was a cause he could die for.

Step forward neighbour Alexander (an effortless performance by Dale Endacott) and his (for a price) revolving door of potential causes for Semyon to die for. So we have through the doors in order Aristarkh (John Shelley providing much of his dazzling performance as Richard III again), Kleopatra (a fruity performance from Nikki Murray) and finally Victoria (elegant and stylishly played by Riley Stephen). They all indeed have a cause so strong that it is worth "dying for it".

Into the mix we have the confident and strutting business woman Margarita, present to "console" Alexander over his recent loss. Playing her is Jenny Styles, who of this current crop of students I have seen the most via the other uni shows, through to Killed and more recent telling the vivid tale of The Little Prince at the Open Mic Night. Jenny has never been less than impressive and in this her performance is every bit as great as the woman who will get her man, indeed more than one. Pacing around in killer heels, she is simply wonderful. Also simply wonderful is Joseph Clift as peoples champion Yegor. Present mostly for his comedy value, he also has that powerful edge, and whenever his brief passing through visits occur, "This is a communal stairway!" he is where the audience eyes I think lay. Last but not least, direct from the motherland of Russia, we have, erm, Scottish preacher Yelpidi played mostly for constant comedy effect by Ryan Manning.

The cast of ten are all incredible and are joined briefly by violin playing refugee from The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot, Abigail Benson-Ross. Together with director Cressida Brown, they have created what is a gloriously funny production with first class performances and a powerfully sad end. The perfect finale for me of this weekends three University Of Northampton productions. Roll on the Flash Festival 2015.


Performance reviewed: Saturday 14th March, 2015 at the Royal & Derngate (Royal), Northampton.

Dying For It was one of three show being performed at the Royal by the University Of Northampton BA (Hons) Actors. Details of each are below.
Dying For It: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Royal/DyingForIt/?view=Standard
A Clockwork Orange: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Royal/AClockworkOrange/?view=Standard
The Last Days Of Judas Iscariot: http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/whatson/2015-2016/Royal/LastDaysOfJudas/?view=Standard

Details of Royal & Derngate can be found by visiting their website at http://www.royalandderngate.co.uk/

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