7 Ways to Die

As a woman attempts suicide, she is never quite successful. As the title suggests, there are at least seven ways in which she tries to end her life. By my count though, there were nine.

Told with mask and completely without dialogue, performers Alex Forsyth and Keltie Brown must use their bodies to express their feelings. The result is sometimes over-the-top, but essential, especially when trying to overcome the unchanging facial expression of their masks. Forsyth and Brown are successful here.

The show is also big on mime, with a great deal of time taken to opening and closing the two apartment doors with numerous locks.

As a largely physical piece of theatre the additional elements of sound, Foley and the physical use of space needs to be executed with perfection. Unfortunately that wasn’t always the case. Sound effects didn’t always line-up, sightlines were an issue as actors took to the stage floor, and while physical boundaries were well-established at the beginning, they weren’t consistently followed.

While there is a grim sweetness to 7 Ways to Die, a love story, there was little new and unexpected in the ways in which the woman’s suicide attempts were thwarted. The love story side of the equation, which is small compared to death, is predictable.

Perhaps most disappointingly, we never do find out why the woman was so bent on killing herself in the first place.

2 Out of 5 Stars

7 Ways to Die, a love story continues at Studio 16 (1555 West 7th Ave, Vancouver) until September 17 as part of the 2017 Vancouver Fringe Festival. Visit http://vancouverfringe.com for tickets and information.