Death isn’t something we’re terribly good at facing up to, until it’s quite literally staring us in the face, which, half-way through this new work from Glasgow’s Company of Wolves, it is – in a most confrontational manner.
The End of Things | CCA, Glasgow | Rating **
Approaching the audience with an almost menacing intensity, the five performers – silent up to this point – stand in a row and tell jokes, sing rhymes and make barbed comments, all about death. Some of it is witty, some of it vaguely sad, but most importantly, there is a glimmer of a chance of some sort of connection. Something mysteriously lacking from the rest of the piece.
Earlier in the show, the three women and two men have tried our patience to the max. Wheeling large suitcases around the stage, they make and break familial alliances, as small groups and couples come together then separate. Time passes achingly slowly, forcing us to think of people in transit, of love found and lost – although with no real pay-off.
On a purely visual level, The End of Things is a gift that keeps on giving: the suitcases turn out to be filled with something unexpected which later comes into play, helium balloons filled with bright light dance around the stage and the space constantly evolves with each change in performer dynamics.
But to enter and leave a show about endings having felt so little in the way of emotional connection is ultimately frustrating.