I wasn’t sure what to expect of Dead Funny, a play by Terry Johnson that first premiered in 1994. However I ended up liking it a lot. Richard is the leader of a comic appreciation society, and invites his fellow members over one evening to mark the passing of one of the greats. Meanwhile, his wife, Eleanor, wants a baby but her husband is reluctant to even touch her.
Despite the fact that it covers a period of time – and a range of comedians – that I’m not familiar with, I didn’t find the themes the play deals with dated. I thought it was very funny but there was also an undertone of tragedy – thanks mainly to Katherine Parkinson’s performance which brought out the despair of her character. Steve Pemberton, Ralf Little and Emily Berrington provide strong support, and Rufus Jones is also very good as Richard. Indeed, I found the production ‘dead funny’.