The Vaults, London – until 10 March 2019
There’s a lot we don’t know about death and a lot we don’t know about the characters in Kathryn Gardner’s play Dead End. Things like why gravedigger Sue (Gardner) keeps hiding the tools of the bumbling, church groundsman (Paul Collin-Thomas) and what happened to her friend Carol (Chloe Wigmore) whose ghost she chats to.
And why does she suddenly wants to investigate the death of a cat she’s been carrying around in a cool bag for two weeks or refuses to go over to grave plot 12b? Don’t ask about the dead body the groundsman sees and reports to the police because you won’t get any answers. The only thing we do find out is what attracts the foxes. Perhaps this is what the title of the play obliquely refers to – paths that lead nowhere.
At one point Collin-Thomas wanders off leaving an empty stage for a long time, long enough to make you wonder if anyone is coming back. Is this a metaphor or just mistimed?
It’s an odd play, not satisfyingly odd, rather it feels at times like a vehicle for death related puns [insert joke about popping clogs/kicking buckets/last legs etc]. There are some funny moments and smiles at the silliness but this isn’t a rip-roaring comedy, instead it leads to a bit of a dead end.