Death in Shakespeare in a laughing matter at Derby Theatre

Spymonkey are performing The Complete Deaths at Derby Theatre this week
Spymonkey are performing The Complete Deaths at Derby Theatre this week

The funny side of being bumped off in Shakespeare’s plays is explored by Spymonkey at Derby Theatre this week as they present The Complete Deaths.

There are 74 on-stage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare – 75 if you count the black ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus.

They range from the Roman suicides in Julius Caesar to the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John, from the carnage at the end of Hamlet to snakes in a basket in Antony & Cleopatra, and from Pyramus and Thisbe to young Macduff and Banquo being murdered in Macbeth.

There are countless stabbings, plenty of severed heads, some poisonings, two mobbings and a smothering.

Enorbarbus just sits in a ditch and dies from grief.

And then there’s the pie that Titus serves the Queen of the Goths.

Spymonkey will perform them all – sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, sometimes musically, always hysterically.

It may even be the death of them.

The Complete Deaths is a solemn, sombre and sublimely funny tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.

The show has been adapted and directed by award-winning experimental theatre maker, writer, performer and director Tim Crouch.

An award-winning British playwright and theatre maker, Tim was an actor for many years before starting to write, although he still performs in much of his work.

He has written a series of five plays inspired by Shakespeare’s lesser characters and I, Cinna (the poet) was commissioned and produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company in 2012 and was nominated for the Writers Guild of Great Britain’s award for Best Play for Younger Audiences.

The Complete Deaths sees Tim and his Spymonkey colleagues scaling the peaks of sublime poetry, and plumbs the depths of darkest depravity.

Spymonkey have been making sublimely hilarious and deeply ridiculous theatre since 1998 including their last critically-acclaimed show Oedipussy, which toured extensively across 2012-2013.

The show is at Derby Theatre at 7.30pm on Thursday, June 16 and 2.30pm and 7.30pm on Friday, June 17.

Tickets priced £15.50 to £26.50 are available now on 01332 593939 or online at www.derbytheatre.co.uk