The Complete Deaths

November 30

December 11, 2016

Upstairs at Chicago Shakespeare

A World's Stage production
from the United Kingdom
directed + adapted by Tim Crouch
co-produced with Brighton Festival
+ Royal & Derngate Northampton

About Spymonkey

Spymonkey is the UK's leading physical comedy company, based in Brighton and comprising a core creative ensemble of five lead artists: artistic directors Toby Park, Petra Massey and Aitor Basauri, and associate artists Stephan Kreiss and designer Lucy Bradridge. They have been making sublimely hilarious and deeply ridiculous theatre since 1998.

Whilst performing with the Swiss site-specific theatre company Karl's Kühne Gassenschau, Toby, Petra, Aitor and KKG founder Paul Weilenmann decided in the autumn of 1997 to embark on a small winter side-project, inviting clown director Cal McCrystal to work with them for a week at Central School of Drama. A year later they presented their first show, Stiff, at Komedia Brighton, which enjoyed a brief tour of UK and Switzerland in late 1998. In 2000 Stephan Kreiss replaced Paul Weilenmann to establish the ensemble that has remained at the heart of the company's work since then.

With their dark, edgy physical comedy rooted "somewhere between Monty Python, the Marx Brothers and Samuel Beckett" (The Houston Chronicle), and a quartet of performers from Spain, Germany and England, Spymonkey has proved to be a truly international phenomenon, enjoyed by and accessible to a wide range of international audiences. They have created 7 shows to date: Stiff (1998) Total Theatre Award Winner, British Council Showcase of the best of British theatre in 2001; Cooped (2001);  Zumanity—Another Side of Cirque du Soleil (2003-05) resident show at New York New York Hotel Casino, Las Vegas where Spymonkey created the comedy portion of this adult burlesque show seen by half a million people; Bless (2007) nominated for 3 Betty Mitchell Awards, Moby Dick (2009); Love In (2011) winner for Best Comedy at the Brighton Festival; and Oedipussy (2012) winner of the Argus Angel Award at the Brighton Festival.

They have also made a number of collaborations and commissions: Miss Behave's Variety Nighty (2008); Palazzo (2008-9, 2010-11); Sandi Toksvig's Christmas Cracker (2010); Jekyll & Hyde(ish) (2011); Spookshow (2013); Every Last Trick (2014); Mrs Hudson's Christmas Corker (2014). Screen appearances have included Solstrom for Bravo, Australia Broadcasting Company, BBC, Carlton; Just for Laughs Galas with George Lopez and William Shatner and the Gemini-Award-winning documentary Lovesick, directed by Lewis Cohen. They have performed as guest acts and hosts in Alternative Eurovision, La Clique, The Razzle, Tina C and South Bank Centre's New Year Eve Show with Bellowhead.

The company has a vibrant and increasingly over-subscribed educational department, frequently running workshops around the world. They have lectured to a number of universities and performing arts schools including Winchester University, Kingston University, Northampton University, University of Kent. In 2015 they piloted a programme for recovering addicts in conjunction with Phoenix Futures. More details about all of our educational activities here.

Spymonkey has been the subject of academic study by undergraduates of Rose Bruford (dissertations by Smari Gunnarsson and Mathew Baynton), University of York, University of Northampton, as well as PhD doctorate work by Lucy Amsden of Glasgow University, and Laura Cockett of Liverpool University. Publications examining the company's work include Demian Reis's examination of modern clowning Caçadores de Risos and Stephe Pritchard's study of contemporary dramatic practice. They are an associate company of the National Independent Schools Drama Association (NISDA), and appear on a number of GCSE and A level syllabuses as an exceptional example of devised physical theatre, clown and comedy.

The four core members are engaged in a wide range of other creative projects. Aitor Basauri is one of the leading teachers of clown and physical comedy in the world. His directing credits include Discombobulated for Publick Transport (UK). Toby Park works as a composer and musical director, collaborating with amongst others, Improbable Theatre, Guy Dartnell, Tom Morris, Mimbre, Northumberland Lights and Graeme Gilmour. He was Associate Director with Maria Aitken of Telling Tales by Georgia Pritchett in development for ATG. In 2014 Toby and Aitor directed The Fabulous Bäckström Brothers in Helsinki, a clown opera. In 2015 they directed physical comedy for Mack & Mabel at Chichester Festival Theatre, starring Michael Ball. Petra Massey appeared as a regular in BBC TV’s Hyperdrive and Miranda, was one of the original cast creating Office Party at Barbican and Pleasance London, and directs the UK companies Slightly Fat Features and Wet Picnic. Stephan Kreiss appears in Jedermann at the Salzburger Festspiel in August 2013, directed by Julian Crouch, and directs for Palazzo.

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