Total Theatre Review of 10 Ways to Die on Stage from Brighton Festival

Edward Rapley’s 10 Ways to Die on Stage sold out in the double bill with Jos Houben at the Basement during the Brighton Festival this year.


Here is the review from Total Theatre 

Edward Rapley
10 Ways to Die On Stage
The Basement
18 May 2011

The alternative versions of Edward Rapley’s one man show-wrapped-within-a-show eventually prove his point. ‘It will get worse,’ he says. And it does: the salt water that at first was just on the unpleasant side is heavingly undrinkable later, with half a kilo of salt in it, so when he does drink it, in an entirely consistent act of self punishment, it has the great comedy and pathos combined. Later, he performs three dances that encapsulate the show so far, each an increasingly minimalist version of the other, until the last is almost purely a dance of the eyes and eyebrows except for the delicately gauged grimaces of the mouth that tell you his salt ordeal is due to take place again.

The show operates through quite gentle, subtle physical comedy most of the time, carefully constructed, with a cogent rationale. It is sometimes hugely funny. One of his confessions is: ‘I am sorry for threatening you with a knife… while our parents were out.’ The comedy lies in the pause – is this something terrible and horrible emerging? – that leads to an out-loud guffaw when we realise this is one of those classic childhood moments.

Physically Rapley delivers – a fine balance in movement and sculpted pose, studied diffidence plunging into needy excess, a nice corporeal meshing of the idea that dying onstage is a great metaphor for failing in life. It maybe lacks pace in the middle to end but many of the ‘scenes’ are nicely judged, like the five things not to do if you want to be happy, delivered with both poignancy and great comic timing.

Bill Parslow


Catch 10 ways to die on stage during Exeter Fringe at the Bike Shed Theatre next week.

It is playing the 25-27th and you can buy tickets through the Exeter Phoenix box office Phone 01392667080



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