shows / Stiff



Forbes Murdston, the great tragedian, has suffered writer’s block for years. But now at last he has his own personal tragedy to draw upon. After the loss of his wife Morag, he is driven to express the depths of his sorrow by gathering around him an enthusiastic (but totally incompetent) troupe of actors to produce a moving tribute to his dear, departed love. Mr Keller the embalmer, Alfredo Graves the pall-bearer and Mandy Bandy the make-up artiste are determined to make a night of it.

‘‘You’ll weep, but only with laughter’’ The Guardian

Stiff is a study in subtle outrage, dancing a reel on that excruciatingly funny spot just beyond the pale. Since its creation in 1998 it has delighted audiences and critics around the world, and has rapidly become a modern comedy classic.

‘‘I nearly died laughing’’ The Times

Stiff is an award-winning collaboration between Britain’s leading physical comedy director Cal McCrystal, off-the-wall designer Lucy Bradridge and international clown surrealists Spymonkey, and continues to build their reputation as the most distinctive comedic talent in British theatre today.

‘‘The most fun anyone has found in the undertaking business since Evelyn Waugh wrote The Loved One’’ Houston Chronicle, USA

It has been rapturously received around the world from Mexico, Canada and the USA to Syria and Taiwan. In 2000 it won a Total Theatre Award at the Edinbugh Festival, a Houston Press Award for best touring show 2001, and appeared at the US Comedy Arts Festival 2001 in Aspen Colorado, performing alongside Billy Crystal and Steve Martin. At Edinburgh 2001 it was performed as part of the British Council showcase of the best of British theatre.

‘‘Deliriously funny – credit this young European troupe with impeccable taste in influences and a skill to match the originals’’ Globe & Mail, Canada


Performed by Spymonkey: Aitor Basauri, Stephan Kreiss, Petra Massey & Toby Park

Directed by Cal McCrystal

Written by Cal McCrystal & Spymonkey

Design Lucy Bradridge

Production photography Bernhard Fuchs

First performed at the Komedia Brighton, December 11th 1998. Paul Weilenmann performed the part of Mr Keller for its initial tour of UK and Switzerland in 1998/99.

Video Gallery


Unit 7b Level 3 North, New England House,
New England St, Brighton BN1 4GH


Spymonkey is resident ensemble company at Royal & Derngate, Northampton.

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