Someone Dies at the End

A small group of survivors huddle in a bunker, eating beans and reminiscing on their favourite foods. Before long their camaraderie is shattered by new arrivals, recriminations and mistrust.

I would have liked to see this play developed more

Someone Dies At The End is a post-apocalyptic thriller dealing with the infinitely rich subject of humans under pressure. This new play, written by Freddie Fulton and Matthew Consalvo has been brought to Edinburgh by Squeaky Wheelz, a collaborative ensemble based in New York that creates work exploring diversity.

I find myself wondering if perhaps the characters are supposed to represent archetypes, but the character’s motivations seem entirely based only on what they are required to bring to the situation. Even then, there’s a lack of consistency in the motivation; for example, one character is aggressive and confrontational until he’s not required to be so anymore and then he switches to genial and playful, acting like he’s been a part of the group for ages. This is representative of the biggest problem of the play; there’s no sense of the tensions ramping up. The play is only 45 minutes long and feels like it occurs in real time. The characters leap through emotional states with often no reason or rhyme to their actions.

The cast are all talented performers and each has a solid take on their role but, unfortunately, the staging is completely unsuited to the space; the sightlines are terrible and, from where I’m sitting, every time a cast member sits, squats or lies down, they completely disappear from view and I’m left simply listening to the play. This is clearly a problem for my whole row and happens so often that there’s a great deal of frustrated sighing at each occurrence.

The ending of the play is left open, with the hint of a bigger picture that the characters may only just be aware of, but it’s a sudden ending and I would have liked to see this play developed more.

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The Blurb

In a post-apocalyptic United States, survivors are forced together in an underground bunker. As rations dwindle, tensions build along class and racial lines. How do these divisive categories apply in a world that no longer exists?