Words: Katie McCulloch
How to Bury a Dead Mule by Richard Clements is a compellingly beautiful one man show. Clements takes his own grandfather (Norman Clements) experience of being a Northern Irish fusilier in WW2 and epitomises the terror and atrocities of what was endured. Despite the melancholic subject matter of war, Clements brings a spirited, likeable quality to his character.
Clement’s use of language is a privilege to bask in; the writing is poetic, sometimes formed in rhyming couplets. It is evident also that an abundance of precision, care and thought has gone into this piece. We journey with Clements meeting his love Isabelle, his initial recruitment into the war and his months spent in Italy, Glasgow, the front line, hospital and more. The piece is complimented with the use of war archive projections, props and a score composed by Clements. Matthew McElhinney’s direction brims with energy and the use of props is remarkable. There are striking moments of stillness within the frenzied anxiety and anguish of the piece.
Clements returns home and no questions are asked. His absence has changed his family and himself, but the pain sustained is swept under a rug of detachment. We follow his trauma and witness the irreparable damage of WW2. Passionately performed, How to Bury a Dead Mule is a moving, important piece of theatre.
How to Bury a Dead Mule
Pleasance Dome, Jack Dome
10-15, 17-20, 22-27 Aug