Lorca is Dead is a bizarre immersive romp through the history of surrealism, guided by some of its best known characters, including Salvador Dali, Paul Eluard and Andre Breton. The story loosely follows the events of the life of the Spanish poet Federico Garcia Lorca, and recounts the other characters' relationship to him. Much of the action, however, is derived from their debate about how best to tell the story. With Artaud in the corner playing a piano-come-time machine, some of the historical events we witness are, in fact, real.
The show begins in the bar area of Southwark Playhouse, in which the cast do not shy away from approaching anyone. Asked to engage in activities which will later be called upon to become part of the show, the audience are at all times part of the action. As we side-step into the main house, we find it has been transformed into something that looks like a cross between a living room and a junk shop. The audience are invited to sit on cushions and sofas, and to mingle with the characters and their props.
The action is funny and poignant, and there's never a dull moment when you're not quite sure who's going to be asked to get up on their toes next. With a large cast, this small space truly becomes Belt Up's own: appearing out of wardrobes, dancing the Charleston and enacting bull fights, Lorca is Dead is fast-paced and engrossing. The story may often be tenuous, but there's so much surreal activity going on that we're not inclined to care.