Awake

Karla is throwing a surprise birthday party for her husband Max with their closest friends. But Max has some terrible news. He’s only got weeks to live. Tonight he has to decide whether to tell his pregnant wife and their friends the truth, or whether he should keep the killer disease a secret and deal with it in his own way. Is it kinder to hide things which you know will hurt the people you love? Or is it just a way to selfishly avoid having to see their suffering?

Awake is a hard-hitting show which looks at the morality and emotional pain surrounding terminal illness through a powerful mixture of dialogue, dance and circus acrobatics. Max’s illness causes him to experience delusions and strange visions; we watch from his point of view as the party repeatedly descends into dark, disturbing games. The decision to convey this chaos using elements from the ritual Balinese Ketjak Monkey Chant and taking influence from Dante’s Inferno works very well. The friends play a game of Monkey Devil which soon turns nasty; in a reflection of his impossible struggle with his illness, Max tries to repel the eerily-howling human monkeys.

Things become more disconcerting still as friends morph into devils, angels and temptresses. Here the use of circus elements and athletic dance-with-death scenes create a suitably sinister, fantastical atmosphere. What really makes the show so moving, though, is the cast’s haunting outbursts into songs which sound like a mixture of sacred music, Eastern European folk tunes, and Rachmaninoff’s vespers. When their voices soar in harmony as if singing a dirge, you realise that in hopeless situations like this there are no solutions; all you can do is let your soul cry out in anguish.

Sensitive and authentic, ‘Awake’ is a challenging production tackling terminal illness, creating a show that is both beautiful and tragic.

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

The Blurb

A simple story of love, loss and mortality told through a powerful mix of live music inspired by traditional gypsy, folk and Eastern European songs, stunning aerial circus and physical theatre. www.awakeproject.com

Most Popular See More

Moulin Rouge! The Musical

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Frozen the Musical

From £36.00

More Info

Find Tickets

Wicked

From £30.00

More Info

Find Tickets