Belt Up's Lorca Is Dead Review

Submitted by Al Innes on Tue, 24 Aug '10 10.30pm
Rating (out of 5)
Show info
Belt Up Theatre
Running time

Mad-cap surrealism from a company that is fast becoming a Fringe staple.

I have actually now caught Lorca is Dead twice this Fringe. Having headed along to review the piece I came out slightly baffled, though satisfied, first time around. The following evening friends of mine had bought tickets and asked if I would like to come, and I took the chance to spend a night with them while they were in town. Thus it was that I saw this most nebulous little piece on two occasions.

Lorca is Dead is good. Let’s not beat around the bush; if you go catch it you will not be disappointed by the level of performance, nor the content thereof. The actors, playing variously the eponymous Federico Garcia (well, sort of . . . ) as well as Dali, Eluard, Artaud and various other members of the surrealist movement, do an excellent job as they desperately try to explain the life, and death, of Lorca. We have come to expect good things from the Belt Up! team, who brought us Kafka’s The Trial last year. Once again the effort is well placed.

This is a quality young cast with the energy to tackle a variety of play styles. It’s within this nexus that Lorca Is Dead delivers an entertaining piece of work. If you can find your way into this, and take what you can from the performances and thematic style, then you will enjoy it. This is, it would seem, a play by surrealists, about surrealism and thus it has a tendency to become rather, well, surreal. Not in any sort of stark, brooding, ‘Face of War’ kind of way, but more in the mania that we witness and the distinct saturation of literary in-jokes.

This is a play that is winking knowingly back at itself. For myself, I was far less confused after the second showing, though I was not any less convinced that the play itself bites off more than it can chew by squeezing so much into its running time. Some of the pacing was a little off-kilter, so too the casual lines of the final act tend to confuse rather than conclude.

This is a subject I was well versed in before hand, which helped keep track of the tale, but I wonder how easy that might be for someone without a specific knowledge of Europe in the 1930s to get something out of it? All in all, it’s an ambitious effort to tell a tale about a weighty, yet entertaining subject. Well worth a look. Even more so if you think the subject is your sort of thing. Be prepared for audience participation.

Belt Up! Lorca is Dead show times
Till 30 August, 7pm

Ticket Prices
£11.50 (£8.50-£10.50)