A UK Review In [Exactly] 250 Words: "Burke and Hare" at the Watermill Theatre

Harriet Wilson

  • United Kingdom Theatre Critic

Ton Wentworth's new version of the story of Burke and Hare is sharp and witty, and acted out by a cast of only three, all of whom cause a great level of comic chaos by darting between multiple roles … and many accents. Like many productions at The Watermill, Burke and Hare has the edge of something that's just a bit different.

 Burke and Hare. The Watermill Theatre. Alex Parry, Katy Daghorn and Hayden Wood. Photo by Philip Tull

Burke and Hare. The Watermill Theatre. Alex Parry, Katy Daghorn and Hayden Wood. Photo by Philip Tull

As the lights come up on this production, we are introduced to Dr Monro (one of many characters played by Katy Daghorn), who promises to tell the 'real' story of the infamous Burke and Hare. From here, we are thrust full-force into the dark comedy of the play, as entertaining characters meet sinister ends.

Hayden Wood and Alex Parry play the characters of Burke and Hare, and an array of other roles. Daghorn, Wood and Parry all do extremely well to switch so deftly from one character to the next without a moment's lapse in energy or comedy. Not only do the cast have to tackle an array of different roles, however; they are also responsible for performing the music in the play.

The set of Burke and Hare is fairly simple, unlike some of The Watermill's past sets, but its simplicity supports the comedy of the production well. Equally, costume – and very fast costume changes – feed into the comedy and authenticity of this piece.

Burke and Hare is playing at The Watermill Theatre until the 5th May 2018, and then touring until the 26th May.