Originally performed to critical acclaim for the 2009 Fringe, Dead Jim has been revived with a few modifications with many of the original ensemble still in place. It remains very powerful theatre, exploring the nature of drug addiction, alcoholism, recovery and relapse and the extraordinarily self centred world of the players involved – Lou’s searching of Jim’s body in the most impersonal ways for yet more drugs late in the piece is most unsettling.
Clearly, the ideas behind this excellent script and the use of video are more than just some musings of a few in or out of the drug and binge culture. Most productions that claim to be anti-drugs or anti-war tend to finish up (wittingly or otherwise) glorifying their topic more than condemning it. None could accuse Dead Jim of that or of being preachy.
Both Hone and Pantelis give excellent performances, strong, emotional and suitably unhinged from the reality of their characters’ own and Jim’s belated predicament. Their monologues to Jim late in the play are excellently executed. Murray remains suitably contorted, limp and staring in a fine act of endurance.
The intimate Bakehouse Theatre gives audiences a real sense of being in the living room with the characters and while only the approved Fringe length of one hour, any more would run the risk of the whole thing becoming harrowing.
Kryztoff Rating 4K
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