Play reaps grim topic of death
Louis B. Hobson. Calgary Sun
Wednesday October 10, 2007

Lunchbox Theatre's The Death of Me is a lively comedy about second chances. As the play opens, John Adderly (Dave Kelly) is ushered into the offices of the Angel of Death (Tammy Roberts). Having just suffered a fatal aneurysm, John is engulfed in a cloud of disbelief. Just weeks earlier, his doctor gave him a glowing report from his physical. John is also distraught because he died on the Friday of a long weekend, so it's unlikely his body will be discovered until Tuesday, and most likely by his mother. He's afraid the shock might just kill her.

The Angel mixes good news with the bad. His mother won't die of shock but he's still very much dead. Playwright Norm Foster wrings a great deal of irreverent humour from John's predicament as this newly dead computer analyst tries to convince the Angel he didn't deserve to die, or at least should be given a chance to tie up loose ends. Every argument is met with caustic celestial wit. The scene works so well because Roberts lacks even a hint of compassion and Kelly is so completely addled. John talks himself into a 12-hour reprieve so he can settle old scores with Cassie (Lora Brovold), the former fiance who left him stranded at the altar, and his doctor (Tony Eyamie), who failed to spot his aneurysm. Foster has created a pair of outlandish characters to further torment and bewilder poor John.

Kelly is hilarious because he is so low-key compared to Brovold and Eyamie, who bombard him with antics as bizarre as their dialogue. Martin Evans' ingenious set and Douglas J. Rathbun's lighting design make it possible for John to travel instantly and effortlessly from a foyer in Heaven to a provincial licence bureau and a restaurant. This also helps keep the play's madcap mayhem in full tilt.

3.5 OUT OF 5