Death and Gardening
Disappointing physical theatre about death and beyond
This article is from 2013.
Wet Picnic take a quotation from painter Edvard Munch (‘from my rotting body, flowers shall grow’) as an inspiration for this slight study of one man’s death. While the incidental details of David’s life most ordinary are movingly expressed through their mixture of physical theatre and scripted conversations, Death and Gardening feels like a sketch in need of further development.
When the company acknowledge, after the applause, that this is still a work in progress, the lack of depth becomes explicable: however, the ambitious claims made for the show – gardening is barely relevant, let alone the poetry of Munch’s statement – undermine its gentle charm and energetic performances. The poignancy of relatives’ grief is obscured by the comic antics of the angels greeting David into the afterlife and the comedic moments – heaven as a bureaucracy – jar against the beauty of the final scene when the dead man ascends to eternal life.
It is difficult to discern whether further development of the show will yield rewards, even though the performers all have charm, and their vitality is infectious. David’s life is pictured as mundane deliberately, but Wet Picnic fail to detect the beauty in the detail.
Assembly Roxy, 623 3030, until Aug 26 (not 19), 6.10pm, £11.50–£12.50