Sheffield University Theatre Company (SUTCo) are debuting their own show My Mate Dave Died in the final week of this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe.
After consuming a lethal combination of drugs and alcohol, Dave emerges in heaven to be greeted by two admin angels. He is informed he has unfinished business and must return to earth – invisible to the world – to solve his earthly purpose before he can pass through to heaven. Daunted by the task ahead of him, Dave runs to see his best friend Jimmy, and the pair receive a large shock when they discover they can communicate once more. Whilst trying to fulfill his own earthly purpose, Dave meets Zoe, who is also trapped between heaven and reality. The importance of Dave’s ability to communicate with Jimmy becomes apparent, and Dave and Zoe connect the dots to make amends.
My Mate Dave Died touches on intense themes including death and regret in sincere scenes throughout this show. Writer Mike Alexander maintains a lighthearted tone throughout, sometimes in the form of dark comedy. Subjecting the audience to a wide range of juxtaposing emotions in such a short space of time leaves audience members slightly confused, trying to grasp exactly what tone SUTCo are trying to achieve.
The casting of each talented actor is fitting to each character, and the talent on stage really enables some characters to come to life. The sketches played out by multiple minor roles is what SUTCo do best. Cerys Hayes and Harry Carling play the roles of angels, as well as Jimmy’s parents, and completely make it their own. Their well written scripts and confident delivery tickle the audience, whilst offering a respite from the saddening aspects of the storyline.
On the odd occasion the acting lacked soul, which disconnected the audience with the overall inherent value of the production, however this should be taken with a pinch of salt: after all it was opening night.
Set design was simple but extremely efficient. Transforming a bench into a bed then into a therapists sofa all from one prop ensured slick scene transitions with minimal distraction.
Having reviewed the original production of My Mate Dave Died first performed in October, I can’t help but compare the two productions. With half the time to perform, understandably SUTCo have modified the storyline. The conciseness of the plot is attractive, however the connection the audience members forge with the characters is less significant as a result. Despite this, the evolution of the show is impressive. SUTCo have highlighted their strengths and have used them in their favour
My Mate Dave Died is deeply original and extremely entertaining. This play is only just beginning and has potential to go far, so grab your chance to see it now.
More information can be found about the show below: https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/my-mate-dave-died