Adamo Mortem is a simplistic yet clever play that tells the story of an endearingly awkward young man, Danny (Phillip Fitzjohn), who has decided to literally date Death (Aimee Monement). While some may think Death is a bitch, the character Death is portrayed as a sassy and misunderstood young woman with a quirky fashion sense and power beyond her years. She is as eccentric as she is ruthless. Danny, however, is doing his best with his current predicament, despite an evidently weak stomach when it comes to the afterlife.
Scaena Momeenta is definitely a promising new theatre company. With a stellar cast, excellent writing, and a delightful first production, Adamo Mortem is a lighthearted look at life, love, death, and the afterlife. Writer Nathaniel Young has crafted a charming, witty, and insightful script that entertains its audience from beginning to end with a few twists along the way. Fitzjohn’s portrayal of Danny is genuine, with a gentle ease and grace upon the stage from his pre show presence right to the final curtain call. Monement’s more haunting performance as death is equally captivating with an attitude as quirky and unpredictable as a teenage girl, but a guttural flame that could leave even the most confident of mortals quivering in fear.
Another match to the two lovers was Crichton (Shannon Haegler) and Boyd (Nathaniel Young) who provided the audience with enjoyable and charismatic performances. The two hit men are far better at playful banter than they are at their professional work. They quarrel like a couple who may ineed outilise even Death and her most recent boyfriend. The two actors exude comedic timing, managing to always fill their stage time with rhythmic deliveries that are playful, relatable and hilarious.
Once the four focal characters were introduced and began to grow on the audience in their own respective ways, the show expanded its focus from the mortal world to the purgatory afterlife. With this expansion came a continuation in clever conversations and concepts, but also a down fall in direction. While Director Vanessa Reddan performed effortlessly as the frustrated and feisty Jo, her direction left something to be desired. Regrettable moments included long scene transitions left in the dark, possibly to hide the awkward and clunky change in set, cards with numbers on them being given to the audience with no interactive purpose (other than presumably pretending we were numbered in a queue that was never to be revealed), sound design that began with potential but was eventually rendered distracting, repetitive and awkward, and a scene between Death and her mother performed entirely in the dark. These elements aside, Reddan’s direction of actor performance and script dissection is seamless. The characters are strong, relationships are well considered and locations, once set up through awkward set arrangements, are clear.
With a fantastic script, captivating cast and humble production, Adamo Mortem is a step towards success for Scaena Momenta in the Anywhere festival. I look forward to seeing how this company progresses with their future productions and anticipate the next script from Young.
ADAMO MORTEM PRESENTED BY ANYWHERE FESTIVAL.
FRI 6th – SAT 21st MAY 2016.
Originally Published for Anywhere Festival.