Review: The Corpse in the Room

‘If you spend any amount of time with a person, you will form some sort of bond…’

Trigger warning: abusive relationships

“Dying isn’t going to give you a new life, it’s just going to take away what you have.”

Life and death. Dreams and reality. Madness and sanity. This show has it all. It asks you whether being obsessed with life is better than being ready to die, whether believing in the afterlife is a sign of hope or despair, whether clinging on to your dreams is a way to escape or an excuse not to. It really makes you question how you live your life and what choices you make.

The script for the show is absolutely breathtaking. Emily Gibson has shown herself to be an incredible writer, being able to capture the intricacies of human relationships and create dialogue that flows, while oscillating from emotion to emotion. She was able to brilliantly portray the juxtaposition between an abusive relationship and a delusionally perfect one. The comedic one-liners nicely intercepted the serious conversations and existential thoughts, giving the audience a small break from the masterfully philosophical plot. This play is insightful, passionate and absolutely heart-breaking. Possibly the only thing that I would say could be improved is giving more time for the characters to develop their relationship, as it felt like there was just a little bit missing.

Emily also played the Woman and has proven to be an incredible actress. Not only was her body language always on point, but her facial expressions also perfectly showcased the vast variety of emotions her character was experiencing. She was able to portray madness in her eyes, the bliss of delusion, the incredible pain inside her, the slight change of emotion at the realization that she is falling for someone and is crazily scared about it, and so much more.

Image credits: Maisie Johnson

The Woman’s chemistry with the Corpse was also outstanding. The Corpse, played by Charles Wolrige Gordon, skilfully changed his voice from angry to happy and his face from caring to terrified. He was both gentle and stern, both understanding and persuasive. The excitement and light in his eyes as he was talking about his life and the torturous compassion as he was listening to the Woman talk about hers were absolutely on point. With only two people in the cast, this play brilliantly displayed the actors’ phenomenal talent.

It always amazes me how the Corpus Playroom space is used for various shows, but the way it was done here somehow felt especially natural. The minimal lights helped set the mood, changing from cold to warm and back to cold again. The set was simple, with the scene staged as an apartment with some furniture, boxes and a radio in the corner, but what stood out was a stepladder. It was a genius way to make the set more interesting and create opportunities for dynamic movement on the small stage. The use of the infamous Corpus corner also surprised me. While most shows tend to avoid it, this play used it to their advantage, having the two characters stand leaning against the walls talking, not looking at each other, yet being so physically close, exploring the concept of intimacy in an ingenious way.

Image credits: Maisie Johnson

The Corpse in the Room is so emotional and heart-wrenching. I was fully immersed in the bittersweet story of the Woman and the Corpse and felt so connected to the characters from the very beginning. The play was brilliantly written, and I found myself noting down so many profound quotes. This show really made me think about my views on life and death and everything in between. As the Corpse put it: “You don’t realise how many choices you make in life until you can’t make them any more.” And you should definitely choose to come and see the Corpse in the Room at the Corpus Playroom and observe how it affects your world view.


The Corpse in the Room is showing on the 1st – 4th of May at 9:30 pm at Corpus Playroom. Book your tickets here.

Feature image credits: Milly Kotecha

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