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You Are Going To Die | Southwark Playhouse Borough

You Are Going To Die, written and performed by Adam Scott-Rowley, is an experimental piece of theatre that explores existentialism through dialogue and physicality. Performed entirely naked, Rowley takes the audiences to uncomfortable places in his mission to see his vision through. The rawness of his acting, the expansive and exaggerated facial expressions and his thought-provoking questions make the piece strong. 

Rowley takes on a monumental role, exposing himself, in all aspects, to the audience. The show has very limited dialogue, preferring to rely on its lighting and sound effects to fill the stage and allow Rowley's silent storytelling to dominate the majority of the hour. With the use of clever lighting, Rowley's grand use of facial expressions and contouring of his body to denote the fear and pain that clutches at one's soul, feels even more dramatic. 

Treating us to a live rendition of the circle of life, from a helpless baby to a hunched elderly, Rowley is convincing and compelling in his movements. The dread and fear of death, and how being afraid has robbed him of living life to the fullest, is well-portrayed and the fear clutches at the audience too. Through sporadic dialogue, Rowley encourages to practice self- love. Rowley also follows the food chain, embodying a worm, a chicken until he becomes the king of men, in a rather striking tribute to the wildness and hard edge for survival. 

The lighting design (Matt Cater) is incredible, and elevates the piece in several aspects. Providing not only striking visuals with spotlights guiding, illuminating and trapping Rowley within, it also helps the audience understand the emotion of a scene. With Rowley's performance at time, understandably deceptive and vague, the lighting helps to ground this. The sound design (Sam Baxter) further expands on these emotions, with a heavy buzzing drowning Rowley out, or an underlying thundering. 

Admittedly, I was hoping that Rowley's performance and dialogue would distract from the nudity, but Rowley boldly chooses to not only embrace, but also showcase this. Several of his movements, as well as multiple dance choreography, choose to feature and celebrate this nudity, and ultimately delivers the odd sense of liberation. Gracefully transitioning through the circle of life, clowning, movement and dance, this is performative art at its finest. Rowley tops this off, with a song as his closing act, with lyrics that both bemuse and inspire the audience. 

You Are Going To Die is a bold piece of theatre, that will force you to face your fears and take you to a dark and uncomfortable place, but becomes a wonderful reminder to step into the light. Shed your inhibitions and join Rowley in this strong experimental piece. You Are Going To Die plays at Southwark Playhouse Borough until 4th May - for more information and tickets, you can follow the link here.


Gifted tickets in return for an honest review | photography by Ryan Buchanan


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