What’s it all about?
Sam Desai is a man without hope; living in his mother-in-law’s flat, no job, no benefits, marriage surviving on a thread and only a kebab for solace. When a series of misleading events lead to his nearest and dearest fearing he might just do something stupid, suicide starts to look like it might just be the best option. But as his estate neighbours start knocking on his door to egg him on, each with a reason why they’ll profit from his untimely demise, just exactly who or what is he dying for?
Nadia Fall directs Suhayla El-Bushra’s bonkers update of Erdman’s communist satire, transferring the action from Stalin’s Russia to modern-day London, where a broken Britain is given an energetic lift with hip hop dance, live music and a chorus of comic book, larger-than-life characters.
Who’s in it?
Javone Prince nails the stroppy, anguished and perpetually pissed off Sam, managing to make it perfectly believable the brilliant Rebecca Scroggs’ Maya might just both love and hate him in equal measures. But while Sam might be the one with the (metaphorical) gun in his hand, this black comedy becomes more about the busy body, capitalising crew that happily pick at his carcass before he’s even popped his clogs.
Each is an in your face metaphor for a slice of society. There’s the smarmy local councillor who dreams of making Sam the poster boy for his mental health policy, the overworked, harassed social worker who is rubbing her hands together with glee at the idea of making Sam’s death a case against cuts, the earnest wannabe poet who wants a record deal in exchange for his memorial tribute rap and the trustafarian with a gory destination café on her to do list.
What should I look out for?
Paul Kaye and Lizzie Winkler making sanctimonious smugness hilarious as a pair of dreadlocked documentary making activists.
Sam Jones’ live drumming, which scores sections of El-Bushra’s vibrant script making every day conversation sound like a poetry slam.
The return of Maggie Thatcher to the stage following Billy Elliot The Musical’s closure at the weekend. Believe us, EL-Bushra is as big a fan as Lee Hall.
In a nutshell?
A bit bonkers, a lot bizarre, communist commentary is brought bang up to date in a loud, brash satire that smashes ‘broken Britain’ to pieces.
What’s being said on Twitter?
The Suicide at The National Theatre was very good! Brilliant translation and adaptation. It encapsulated British culture tremendously too!
— Christine Elizabeth (@TheLadyReturns) April 10, 2016
Saw The Suicide at the National Theatre tonight, a proper tour de force
— Ben Devlin (@BenDevlin97) April 7, 2016
Will I like it?
If you like your acting big, your comedy pun packed and your language filthy, this might just be for you. With its absurdist humour, Ben Stones’ off kilter set and Andrej Goulding’s graphic novel-inspired video projections, it’s a bonkers trip in every sense of the word.