From the minds behind Quiz Pump and Henry von Stifle, Journey to the Centre of Dead is quite probably the stupidest play on the Fringe this year. Cleverly, though, it has multiple levels of stupidity. So much so that I’m having trouble recalling what the play was actually about. It’s more than possible I didn’t understand what was going on. No one else in the audience seemed to know either, but they enjoyed it anyway. Journey to the Centre of Dead is an excuse to indulge in utterly nonsensical humour and maximum silliness.
Henry von Stifle (Paul Dance) has written a play, and he is acting in it along with his manservant Spencer (Chris Gau) and the reluctant James O’Brien, who’d rather be baking a quiche. Spencer warns us early on that the play is terrible, but begs the audience to play along, so his master’s feelings aren’t hurt. What then occurs is badly-written, badly-acted, and completely hilarious. Dance, Gau and O’Brien perform it perfectly straight, which makes it all the funnier. This show features one of the Fringe’s best characters in the form of the UHT Milk Man, who throws tiny milk pots into the audience. It has to be seen to be believed.