This is a devised show by the famous and intrepid Belarus Free Theatre. It is one that should be seen by everyone who cares about both drama and humanity, except those who are too faint hearted to look reality in the eye.
We are welcomed to the Capital Punishment Café. The opening is deceptively gentle, with alluring guitar music originally composed by Arkady Yushin. Quickly, however, we see members of the cast apparently dying and being revived by other cast members, or are they receiving electric shocks, or shocked by what they become aware of….
Our compere then encourages us to vocally show our presence, rather as though this is stand up. We are told this will be a gourmet show, with a great new chef. The dishes to be served are not those we might ordinarily savour, and are anything but low down the food chain. Even when the subject is a small bird you may feel an impulse to become vegetarian.
This company is highly skilled and extremely professional, to an extent that they can make a great theatrical success out of a survey of the inhumanity of humanity, with very witty and creative culinary connotations. Electrocution, hanging, lethal injection, tribal violence, the injustices perpetrated in Northern Ireland, together with the appalling conditions that prevail in their native Belarus, all get due attention. Most of the time we don’t want to know, we pass by on the other side of the road. Only a company of the highest theatrical calibre could make us aware of so much that is so chilling, and make of that a great and memorable production. That is what Belarus Free Theatre has done here.