photographs by John Hunter for RULER / thisisruler.net
photographs by John Hunter for RULER / thisisruler.net
photographs by John Hunter for RULER / thisisruler.net
photographs by John Hunter for RULER / thisisruler.net
Thu 5 – Sat 7 May Previews
Royal and Derngate Northampton
www.royalandderngate.co.uk/ | 01604 624811
Wed 11 – Sun 15 May World premiere
Theatre Royal Brighton as part of Brighton Festival
www.brightonfestival.org | 01273 709709
Tue 17 – Wed 18 May
www.mayfestbristol.co.uk | 0117 987 7877
Fri 20 – Sat 21 May
Liverpool Everyman Playhouse
www.everymanplayhouse.com | 0151 709 4776
Tue 24 – Thu 26 May
Istanbul International Theatre Festival
Mon 30 May – Wed 1 June
Hall for Cornwall
www.hallforcornwall.co.uk | 01872 262466
Sat 4th June
New Wolsey Theatre / Pulse Ipswich
Mon 6 – Wed 7 June
www.oxfordplayhouse.com | 01865 305305
Thu 8 – Sat 11 June
www.nottinghamplayhouse.co.uk | 0115 941 9419
Mon 13 – Wed 15 June
Lincoln Drill Hall
www.lincolndrillhall.com | 01522 873894
Thu 16 – Fri 17 June
Thu 6 – Mon 10 September
Hull Truck Theatre
www.hulltruck.co.uk | 01482 323638
Wed 14 – Sat 17 September
Italy details tbc
Tue 20 September – Sat 1 October
Shoreditch Town Hall, London
www.shoreditchtownhall.com | 020 7739 6176
Tue 4 – Wed 5 October
Contact Theatre, Manchester
www.contactmcr.com | 0161 2740600
Thu 6 – Fri 7 October
Warwick Arts Centre
www.warwickartscentre.co.uk | 024 7652 4524
Tue 11 – Sat 15 October
Nuffield Theatre, Southampton
www.nuffieldtheatre.co.uk | 023 8067 1771
Wed 30 Nov - Sun 11 December
Chicago Shakespeare Theater
For more details please see our calendar pages.
R&D photographs by Sam Bailey, Spymonkey, Nel Crouch, Isabel Sanchez
★★★★ “Poignant and hilarious – a fabulous bloodbath” The Observer
“Extraordinary. Brilliant virtuoso physical comedy. Dark and disturbing. Hilarious.” BBC Radio 4 Saturday Review
★★★★ “Brilliantly ridiculous – inspired pairing of Spymonkey and Tim Crouch” The Stage
★★★★ “The Four Horsemen of the Ridiculypse – Fearless physicality and pin-sharp comic timing” Libby Purves TheatreCat.com
★★★★ “Daft, ingenious and ultimately deeply thoughtful” Financial Times
★★★★★ “Completely and utterly joyous” Brighton Argus
A Spymonkey co-production with Brighton Festival and Royal & Derngate northampton
There are 74 onstage deaths in the works of William Shakespeare - 75 if you count the black ill-favoured fly killed in Titus Andronicus.
They range from the Roman suicides in Julius Caesar to the death fall of Prince Arthur in King John; from the carnage at the end of Hamlet to snakes in a basket in Antony & Cleopatra; from Pyramus and Thisbe to young Macduff. There are countless stabbings, plenty of severed heads, some poisonings, two mobbings and a smothering. Enorbarbus just sits in a ditch and dies from grief. And then there’s the pie that Titus serves the Queen of the Goths.
Spymonkey will perform them all - sometimes lingeringly, sometimes messily, sometimes movingly, sometimes musically, always hysterically. The four ‘seriously, outrageously, cleverly funny clowns' (Time Magazine) will scale the peaks of sublime poetry, and plumb the depths of darkest depravity. It may even be the death of them.
Directed by Tim Crouch (I, Malvolio, An Oak Tree, Adler & Gibb) and designed by Spymonkey regular Lucy Bradridge, THE COMPLETE DEATHS will be a solemn, sombre and sublimely funny tribute to the 400th anniversary of Shakespeare’s death.
THE COMPLETE DEATHS is currently touring, full tour dates on our calendar page.
★★★★ “The Complete Deaths is a case of vigour mortis” WhatOnStage
★★★★ “A unique examination of mortality that – literally – buzzes with energy” Reviews Hub
★★★★★ “Superb comic catalogue of Shakespearean murder and mayhem” The Arts Desk
★★★★★ “Deathly fun… Unadulterated theatrical playfulness.” A Younger Theatre
★★★★★ “unique blend of physical comedy with sharp satire” Bexhill Observer
“Bloody good fun in the goriest possible way” The Times
“Lively intelligence at work” Daily Mail
“As the deaths come quick, fast, and funny, Shakespeare’s most haunting words retain their power.” Daily Beast
"A delight from it’s first to last gasping, broken breath” GScene
Performed by Spymonkey:
Aitor Basauri, Stephan Kreiss,
Petra Massey & Toby Park
Adapted and directed by Tim Crouch
Created by Tim Crouch & Spymonkey
Designed by Lucy Bradridge
Lighting design by Phil Supple
Music by Toby Park
Choreography by Theo Clinkard / Janine Fletcher
Video design Sam Bailey
Assistant Director Lucy Skilbeck
Voice Coach Nia Lynn for RSC
Production Management Mat Ort
Technical Manager Reg Scott
Stage Manager Andy McCabe
design intern Dolly Nelly Grey
lighting design associate Anna Barrett
QLab programmer Andrew Croft
Scenery, set painting and costuming by ROYAL & DERNGATE WORKSHOPS and facilitated by technical teams. Special thanks to wardrobe supervisor Rebecca Rees and assistant Tamsyn Payne
graphic design by Toby Park
Studio Photography John Hunter / RULER
Photo shoot wardrobe by Emma Wreyford
Make-up by Sharon Wilmore
Illustrations Chris Riddell
Additional Pyramus bagpipe music by Rohan Kriwaczek
Produced by Emily Coleman
For touring enquiries please contact Emily on email@example.com +44 (0)7879 441815
PR & Press:
Shelley Bennett & Michael Eppy for YETI PR
For all press, broadcast and image requests please contact Shelley on firstname.lastname@example.org +44 (0)7890 101841
supported using public funding by the National Lottery through the Arts Council of England
supported by the MA Dramatic Writing Lab at Drama Centre London at Central Saint Martins
developed at the Other Place at the RSC
Suitable for mid-scale and larger studio theatres with a minimum playing area 8m x 8m
115 mins plus 20 minute interval
Age suitability 14+
Availability UK and international touring from May 2016
We are currently booking UK and international touring for 2016 and 2017. For further information and press enquiries please contact our producer Emily Coleman:
tel: +44 (0)7879 441815
PRESS & PR CONTACT
All enquiries to Shelley Bennett for YETI PR
tel: +44 (0)7890 101841
THE COMPLETE DEATHS had an initial week of research and development at the RSC rehearsal rooms in Clapham in October 2014, ending in a short presentation to an invited audience of presenters and colleagues. Here are some of the responses from the audience:
Erica Whyman, deputy artistic director, RSC
“Seeing how the four clowns each have a different approach to the material is interesting: it is reflective of the way that people have different connections to death and different approaches to Shakespeare.”
Karl James, director of The Dialogue Project
“The opportunity through the channel of clowning to look at death is just delicious. And not just the deaths, the reactions to the deaths - the utter heartbreak. To see that struggle with the weight of a corpse, the difficulty of getting it offstage without getting your pants pulled down. Both beautifully funny and very heartbreaking.”
Rob Thirtle, associate artist Improbable & Julian Crouch
“The Shakespearean-ness here seems to be a device to take us through to a meditation about death. About the death of characters; and then through to the death of someone you know - because these guys know each other very well, it becomes a contemplation about the death of friends. And then finally the clowns take us out laughing rather than ‘oh my god, it’s all terrible’.”
Emma Edwards, writer & director
“You’ve got a core of truth and death, a properly profound dark theme, but on top of it there’s just the pleasure of beating the shit out of each other. It’s not just about death, it’s about how you theatricalise death, in a sense like children do, the pleasure of playing at that heightened theatrical level.”
SPYMONKEY was founded by Toby Park, Petra Massey and Aitor Basauri in 1997. With their dark, edgy physical comedy rooted ‘somewhere between Monty Python, the Marx Brothers and Samuel Beckett’ (The Houston Chronicle), a quartet of performers from Spain, Germany and England, Spymonkey have proved to be a truly international phenomenon, enjoyed by and accessible to a wide range of audiences.
They have created:
STIFF (1998), a black comedy about undertakers; Total Theatre Award Winner, British Council Showcase of the best of British theatre in 2001, toured to Switzerland, Hungary, Finland, Spain, USA, Canada, Mexico, Syria, Romania, Czech Republic and Sweden.
Cooped (2001), a gothic romance directed by Cal McCrystal; international tours to Sydney Opera House, Just For Laughs Montreal, Toronto World Stages, Melbourne Comedy Festival, Brighton Festival, Edinburgh Festival.
Zumanity - Another Side of Cirque du Soleil (2003-05) resident show at New York New York Hotel Casino, Las Vegas. Spymonkey created the comedy content for this adult burlesque show, seen by half a million people.
Bless (2007), about the lives of the saints directed by Cal McCrystal, nominated for 3 Betty Mitchell Awards.
Moby Dick (2009) directed by Jos Houben & Rob Thirtle, which firmly established them as a mid-scale company, including a run at the Lyric Hammersmith, and international tours to Finland, Holland & Belgium.
Love In (2011) a self-help cabaret directed by Chris Green, winner Best Comedy Brighton Festival 2011, Udderbelly Southbank.
Jekyll&Hyde(ish) (2011) a co-production with Lyric Hammersmith and Peepolykus, directed by Sean Holmes and written by Joel Horwood.
Oedipussy (2012) created with Kneehigh director Emma Rice and writer Carl Grose, touring included Royal & Derngate Northampton, Liverpool Playhouse and Lyric Hammersmith. Winner Argus Angel Brighton Festival
Spookshow (2013) a site-specific commission by Showzam Festival Blackpool.
EVERY LAST TRICK (2014) by Georges Feyedeau, a collaboration with director Paul Hunter and writer Tamsin Oglesby, for Royal & Derngate Northampton.
MRS HUDSON’S CHRISTMAS CORKER (2014) directed by Ed Gaughan, written with Bob & Barry Cryer for Wiltons Music Hall London.
Screen appearances have included Solstrom for Bravo Cable Network, Australia Broadcasting Company, BBC, Carlton, Just For Laughs galas with George Lopez and William Shatner, and in the Gemini-Award-winning documentary ‘Lovesick’, directed by Lewis Cohen. They have performed as guest acts and hosts in La Clique, Tina C, Miss Behave’s Variety Nighty at the Roundhouse, Time Out’s Alternative Eurovision, Christmas Cracker with Sandi Toksvig and Ronnie Corbett at the Royal Festival Hall South Bank London, as well as seasons as hosts with Palazzo in Amsterdam and Stuttgart.
TIM CROUCH is an OBIE award-winning British playwright and theatre maker. He was an actor for many years before starting to write – and still performs in much of his work. His plays for adult audiences include MY ARM (Prix Italia, 2004), ENGLAND – a play for galleries (Fringe First, Herald Angel and Total Theatre Award, 2007), AN OAK TREE (OBIE, 2007), THE AUTHOR (a Royal Court Theatre commission, winner of a Total Theatre award and the John Whiting Award, 2010), WHAT HAPPENS TO HOPE AT THE END OF THE EVENING (Almeida, 2013) and ADLER & GIBB (a Royal Court Theatre co-commission with the Center Theatre Group, LA, 2014).
He has also written for younger audiences, including Shopping for Shoes (Brian Way Award for best young person’s play, 2007) and a series of five plays inspired by Shakespeare’s lesser characters – I, Shakespeare. I, Cinna (the poet) was commissioned and produced by the Royal Shakespeare Company (RSC) in 2012 and was nominated for the Writers Guild of Great Britain’s award for Best Play for Younger Audiences. I, Malvolio played at the New Victory Theatre on 42nd Street, NYC, in January 2013 and continues to tour extensively around the world. For the RSC Tim has edited and directed The Taming of the Shrew and King Lear – for young audiences. His production of King Lear played at the Park Avenue Armoury, NYC, in 2012 and was filmed for New York City’s Department of Education. Tim has worked as a writer on other projects including May for Probe dance company and Cadavre Exquis for the Dutch company Kassys, in collaboration with the Nature Theatre of Oklahoma and Nicole Beutler. Tim Crouch: Plays One is published by Oberon Books.
LUCY BRADRIDGE (Spymonkey designer/associate artist since 1998) has designed all Spymonkey shows to date: STIFF, COOPED, ZUMANITY, BLESS, MOBY DICK, LOVE IN and OEDIPUSSY, as well as the collaborations SPOOKSHOW, EVERY LAST TRICK and MRS HUDSON’S CHRISTMAS CORKER.
Lucy has collaborated on numerous occasions with clown director Cal McCrystal, including Alan Ayckboure’s MR WHATNOT at Royal & Derngate, BUBONIC PLAY and HELLO DALAI for Piggy Nero, BETWEEN A ROCK AND A HARD PLACE for Cambridge Footlights, and Fitzrovia Radio’s DRACULA at Mercury Colchester. Design credits include AutoBoosh for the Mighty Boosh; clown costume design for Cirque du Soleil’s Varekai and Zumanity; Heroes for Company FZ; Moonjourney by Alice Lowe; Art Club’s Trials of Hercules; Gloves On and Our Dancing Feet for Ragroof Players.
Television credits include Orcadia, a Comedy Lab, and The Last Chancers, a comedy series both for Channel 4. Film credits include The Wild and Wycked World of Brian Jones; Out of Water and Queen Bee.
AITOR BASAURI (Spymonkey joint artistic director & performer) studied at the Centro Andaluz de Teatro in Seville and at the Philippe Gaulier School in London. Performed in The Servant of Two Masters at Sheffield Crucible (1996), Axomate at the Seville Expo (1992), Eulenspiegel (1991) and in Karl’s Kuhne Gassenchau’s Grand Paradis and Stau in Zurich (1997 and 1998). Director of Little Prince for Donkey Productions (1997), Un Vento Impetuoso for La Canoppia (1996) and Meci Y Me Fui for Pez Enraya ( 1997). In 1999 he appeared in Circus Knie, the Swiss State Circus, and in 2000 formed his own company Punto Fijo, based in Bilbao. Appeared in Cirque Images’ 2003 series Solstrom for Bravo Cable Network. Performed in Zumanity – Another Side of Cirque du Soleil at the New York New York Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, 2003-05. Appeared in Bertold Brecht’s Senor Carrera’s Rifles at the Young Vic, directed by Paul Hunter (2007).
He is an acclaimed teacher of clown, leading Spymonkey masterclasses around the world. As a director he has worked with: Fabulous Bäckström Brothers (Finland 2014); Entre Escobros ‘600 Teatro’ (Spain 2014); ‘Glorator’ for Skipstick Productions (London 2013); ‘NMIIDP’ Simone Riccio, (London 2013); ‘Herr Ist Immer Der Natur’ for Die Drei Auf Den Baum (Berlin 2012); ‘Discombobulated’ for Publick Transport (Bristol & UK tour, 2011); ‘Ramshackadelicious’ (Bristol 2011); ‘Shake’ for The Last Baguette (Switzerland 2010).
STEPHAN KREISS (Spymonkey associate artist since 2000) trained with Philippe Gaulier & Monika Pagneux, Atelier International de l’Acteur (Paris 1985/89) and finished his drama studies with a degree (Vienna 1990/93). Stephan has performed in all Spymonkey productions to date: STIFF, COOPED, ZUMANITY, BLESS, MOBY DICK and OEDIPUSSY.
Theatre credits in Austria and Vienna in the past include amongst others: Theatre YBY in Salzburg: ‘Hello, We Must Be Going’ (The Marx Brothers) directed by Jos Houben/ Johnny Hutch. He extensively toured his one-man-show: ‘Der Legendäre Lustige’ through Austria (1998-2001).
His UK work includes the Right Size’s ‘Penny Dreadful’ (1993) and with Theatre Sans Frontieres (1995-98).
He appeared as Colin Chapman in the ‘Jochen Rindt Opera’, Salzburg Festival (2009), worked with the Young RSC in ‘King Lear’ (2010) and David Pugh Productions (2012). He performed for the german based dinner theatre ‘Palazzo Productions’ in Amsterdam with Spymonkey (2008/09), Stuttgart (2010) and for the last three seasons Stephan co-directed their shows in Berlin (2011), Vienna (2012) and Stuttgart (2013).
Since 2013 he has played a lead in ‘Jedermann/Everyman’ at the Salzburger Festspiele directed by Brian Mertes and Julian Crouch. TV appearances include BBC2 ‘Hyperdrive’, ‘Solstrom’ for Bravo Cable Network and various resurfacings on Austrian TV.
PETRA MASSEY (Spymonkey joint artistic director & performer) BA (Hons) in Performing Arts at Middlesex University. Trained with Philippe Gaulier and John Wright in London.
Joined Swiss action theatre, Karl’s Kuhne Gassenchau (KKG) in 1996 for Grand Paradis, S.T.E.I.N.B.R.U.C.H (1997), and Stau in 1998. In 1999 she headlined with KKG on tour with Circus Knie. She starred in Cirque Images’ series Solstrom (2003) for Bravo TV. Performed in Zumanity – Another Side of Cirque du Soleil at the New York New York Hotel Casino, Las Vegas, 2003-05, and at the Barbican in “Office Party Xmas 2007”, which transferred to the Pleasance London in 2011. Performed in ‘Never Try this at Home’ (2014) with Told by An Idiot directed by Paul Hunter at Birmingham Rep, Traverse Edinburgh, Sheffield Studio and Soho Theatre and ‘The Bee’ a production conceived by Japan’s celebrated director and playwright Hideki Noda in Paris, Luxembourg and Germany (2014).
Starred in two seasons of the BBC comedy sci-fi Hyperdrive, 2006-07 as regular crew member “Sandstrom” the enhanced human (http://www.bbc.co.uk/comedy/hyperdrive/), and appears in season 2 of ‘Miranda’, and Comedy Cuts & Headcases for ITV (2008-2009).
Hosted and performed for the German based dinner theatre ‘Palazzo Productions’ in Amsterdam with Spymonkey (2008/09) and Stuttgart (2010)
Director for Wet Picnic (2008-11), The Two Wrongies (2010-11), Swank (2011), Hijinx Theatre (2012), Extant (2012), Naive Dance (2013), Slightly Fat Features (2012-14), Likely Story (2014) slapstick consultant for the film installation Trip Hazard (2013). Physical comedy director of Mack & Mabel for Chichester Festival Theatre/Playful Productions (2015).
TOBY PARK (Spymonkey managing artistic director, artist, musical director) BA (hons) in Drama at Hull University. Trained at Fool Time Circus School, Bristol, and with Philippe Gaulier and Monika Pagneaux in Paris. From 1994-97 he was co-musical director and actor with Karl’s Kuhne Gassenchau in Zurich, creating with them S.T.E.I.N.B.R.U.C.H (1994, 1997), R.U.P.T.U.R.E (1995) and Grand Paradis (1997). Played Othello in BAC Walking Orchestra’s Othello Music (1999); member of the Improbable Theatre ‘Lifegame’ company (1998) which ran off-Broadway in 2000, and Animo (1999).
Musical director and composer for: Guy Dartnell’s Would Say Something (1998), winner of the Time Out Best of the Fringe Award; acro-dance-theatre Mimbre’s Sprung (2001), Trip-Tic (2003) and The Bridge (2007); site-specific pieces with Graeme Gilmour at Kielder Water Northumberland (2006) and Forth & Clyde Canal Glasgow (2007), and with Phil Supple/The Electric Estate for the National Trust at Cragside Northumberland.
Appeared with Petra in ‘Sandi Toksvig’s Christmas Cracker starring Ronnie Corbett’ at the Royal Festival Hall (2009). TV appearances include Cirque Images’ 2003 series ‘Solstrom’ for Bravo Cable Network and BBC2 ‘Hyperdrive’.
Director of Fabulous Bäckström Brothers, a clown opera in Helsinki (2014). Co-director and composer for Spike Theatre’s ‘The Games’ (2010), co-director of ‘Sink of Swim’ (2013). Co-director with Maria Aitken of Georgia Pritchett’s ‘Telling Tales’, in development for ATG. Co-director with Petra of Unity Festival opening and closing ceremonies at the Wales Millennium Centre (2012). Physical comedy director of Mack & Mabel for Chichester Festival Theatre/Playful Productions (2015).