Review: Be Absolute For Death

By Jane Staggs:


Be Absolute for Death, In Situ’s latest offering, is a seriously reworked, promenade version of Measure for Measure. This is an exciting production, an immensely theatrical work.

True to Shakespeare’s original, all is not what it seems on the surface. In Measure for Measure, characters are not who they pretend to be, and in Be Absolute for Death the actors morph from one character to another, layering on ambiguity.

Who is who, who is good, bad, male or female? Scenes are cut and pasted, then cut and pasted again. The plot is revealed through overheard conversations, distant rumours, snippets of gossip. Writhing bodies and stylised movements emerge out of flickering candlelight as the actors and audience move around the Norman architecture of Cambridge’s Leper Chapel. The costumes and atmosphere are decadent, seedy, mysterious, reminiscent of Wiemar Germany or a red light district somewhere, sometime.

Most importantly, ‘Be Absolute for Death’ is just so enjoyable.

Jane Staggs