Review: You've Got To Be Kidney Me!

A comedy about a stolen kidney falls short of its promise

theatre review (edinburgh) | Read in About 2 minutes
Published 09 Aug 2018
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You’ve Got To Be Kidney Me!

A man living in a suburban Canadian town who harvests kidneys from unwilling donors sounds like solid ground for a dark comedy. And it's based on a true story too. Jackpot. 

You’ve Got To Be Kidney Me! frames the threat of this "Dr Horror" as a jostle between the spooky rumours discussed by three childhood friends, and their realisation as adults that the threat is real, and very close.

An exploration of rumour and fact, specifically relating to stories we hear as children, works well as a premise for this tale. It seems a huge flaw however that we as an audience, unlike Elliot and his two best friends, are never in any doubt about Dr Horror’s existence.

Despite an ending that's obvious pretty much from the word go, the performances are largely engaging. Some delightful comedy comes from the trio of actors playing the friends as children, and good physical comedy when Elliot’s suspect new girlfriend arrives.

While billed as a satirical dark comedy, the play is let down by touching on aspects of the genre without really committing to them. The satirising of Stephen King-style childhood trauma horror is not bold enough to read as satire, and the comedy is outweighed by the dull and familiar drama of friends falling out.

While built on an intriguing central premise, with some impressive performances and staging choices, You’ve Got To Be Kidney Me! needs to be more satirical, funnier and scarier to deliver on its promises.