Mr Kolpert

Adapted from a 1990s German play by David Geiselmann, this student production is a thrilling race through the cruelty and aggression underlying social etiquette. Young couple Ralf and Sarah have invited work friends, Edith and Bastian, to spend an evening in their home. Two issues destabilise this conventional set-up – no one can be bothered to cook so they've decided to order pizza, and Ralf keeps claiming there's a dead body locked in a trunk. For most of the play Mr Kolpert, the corpse in question, functions as a kind of Schrodinger's cat (if you'll forgive my shoddy physics) – until the last few moments we are never sure if he is dead or alive, and many of the high points of tension come about because of this uncertainty; not least because Ralf seems to keep changing his mind.The best actress is Edith, a nervous, giggling woman sidelined by her domineering husband, who has a wonderful comic trick of knocking on a bathroom door before she can open it – from both sides and even when the stage is covered in sick and blood. Sarah is also effectively foxy, and there's a hilarious cameo from a pizza delivery boy who wants no part of this twisted ritual but needs to get his heat-proof box back. I was less impressed with the male actors – as the biggest part Ralf could have stood to work on his diction, as he spoke far too fast to give much sense of the stillness and poise his manipulative character required. Bastian's temper flared up so early that he was left with nowhere to go. Other than that, this company should be crediting for reviving a very funny, little-known script and imbuing it with pace and flying foodstuffs.

Reviews by Richard O'Brien

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The Blurb

Ralf and Sarah are bored. They decide to invite a couple of friends round for dinner and drinks. To spice things up Ralf pretends there's a dead body in their trunk. But maybe he isn't pretending after all. www.runaground.co.uk

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