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Theater Review: The Death of Me Yet

Death is coming for everyone, but some people are more in touch with their impending doom. David Dean Bottrell is one of those people.

David Dean Bottrell. Photo by Conor Weiss.

In a series of a half dozen interconnected stories, Bottrell describes a head injury, pepper spray attack, potential strokes, and the deaths and funerals of others across his lifetime. While this may sound like a downer, the solo show The Death of Me Yet from Rogue Machine Theatre is anything but.

In this West Coast premiere, Bottrell brings his Southern gothic dark humor to all of life’s potential endings, never losing his comic perspective. Not everyone can laugh at health scares and death, but everyone in the audience at this show does, as the heaving shoulders and raucous laughter prove.

Feigning humility, Bottrell somehow manages to say his own name repeatedly, give an extensive biography excoriating an agent and theater that did not give him his due, and end by begging the audience to promote the show on social media. Despite these offputting moments, the show builds in hilarity and stakes, until an inspiring audience participation ending.

Each story ends, often abruptly, with Bottrell snapping his fingers and a blackout. Some stories feel unresolved, others return for a resolution. All are fascinating, despite the kind of medical details you don’t want to hear at the dinner table. In Bottrell’s capable hands, the gory details are played for laughter and lessons: appreciate life!

This is not Bottrell’s first solo show; he also had a successful run with David Bottrell Makes Love. And he does it all despite being told by someone he respects that the form is “the last bastion of the unemployable.” If that’s so, all praise the solo show entrepreneur.


David Dean Bottrell’s The Death of Me Yet is playing through this weekend at the Matrix Theatre, 7657 Melrose Avenue. Remaining performances are sold out, but check here to see if tickets have become available.

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Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen
Laura Foti Cohen has lived in the Brookside neighborhood since 1993. She works as a freelance writer, editor and consultant. She's also a playwright affiliated with Theatre West.

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