The Poisoner’s Progress

Presented by Burjesta Theatre
The Casa, Hope Street
29th November - 2nd December 2013

Reviewed by jjSchaer

The Casa’s resident Burjesta Theatre company staged their new play ‘The Poisoner’s Progress’, which was billed as a ‘Christmas show with a difference’. It certainly lived up to the statement by having little to do with the season and everything to do with sugar – the two were barely even connected despite their apparent hand in hand-ness. I was there, with a responsible adult, to catch their opening night.

Like their previous piece, “A Weekend Spectacular”, it was composed of a mishmash of short sketches with inter-related themes and recurring characters. Taking an advent theme the piece was split up into twenty five bits that were announced with numbered cue cards – which made it like a helpful countdown timer for how long was left. It’s kind of hard to pin down what exactly went on amidst the experimental madness and bizarre tone of the night: mainly sugar, whilst essential to life, is largely bad for you and easily obtainable from completely natural sources. Apparently.

We watched as a lover went from receiving chocolates as gifts before getting jilted and becoming a sugar addicted, obese lunatic. People rotting their teeth in the court of Queen Victoria as a fashion statement. Ancient life forms growing strong from sugars in the fauna. Then some science stuff about the liver being responsible for breaking down poisons and unheeded warning of sugar intake from learned types in the past. Before ending on a sugar infused rendition of ‘White Christmas’.

As with the previous Burjesta play I attended it was a surreal and all over the place night. Whilst it was an interesting subject to tackle the pieces were largely disjointed and chaotic. I did like the fact that it was an unfestive Christmas play with no mention of Saint Nic.

For more on Burjesta Theatre see their website:

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