Copperdollar, Wake the Dead

Review in Issue 21-3 | Autumn 2009

Copperdollar has grown out of the sleaze-glitz Lost Vagueness / Voodoo Vaudeville camp, and is the latest company to make its mark in the currently extremely popular genre of ‘immersive theatre’ in which the audience are no mere passive spectators – enter the affray and you become part of the action.

Wake the Dead is set in a lovely old-style pub in Brighton, the traditional wooden décor lending itself well to the Copperdollar make-over. First thing to namecheck is the beautiful artwork by Jim Sanders, which lovingly references Mexican Day of the Dead artefacts and Native American imagery, a rich assortment of wall hangings, sculptures and totem-pole structures. In the middle of all this finery we find a body laid out in a vibrantly painted wooden cart, and are asked if we’d like to pay our respects. Meanwhile, a posse of living dead saloon girls process across the dancefloor to the sounds of Latino lounge. There’s a number of small-scale interactions (including zombie face-painting), set-piece performances (highlight being the wonderful moment when the corpse awakens), and a live swing band.

It’s a great night out, and as winners of the Brighton Fringe cabaret award, the company could just rest on their laurels. But there is room for improvement! The choreography could be more challenging; and there’s currently an obvious discrepancy between the level of performance skill from highly experienced artists like KT Simpson and ‘corpse’ Bruce Knight, and some other performers. And there are lessons to be learnt about staying absolutely in character all night long… zombies having a fag break and chatting to mates outside in the garden break the spell somewhat!

Presenting Artists
Presenting Festival
Presenting Venue
Date Seen
  1. May 2009

This article in the magazine

Issue 21-3
p. 32