Image: Camilla Adams


Sabina Culver 23/01/23

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Drive Your Plow Over The Bones of the Dead’ – a manoeuvre set by a driving test examiner who should almost certainly be struck off? Nope, it’s actually one of the hottest tickets in London.

See, when it comes to dark, dazzling, devised theatre, nobody does it quite like Complicité. Simon McBurney’s relentlessly creative theatre ensemble are back at the Barbican in March, just as our bitter London winter subsides – with a tale set in a bitter Polish winter.

It’s an adaptation of the novel by Polish Pulitzer Prize-winning writer Olga Tokarczuk, in which a group of men in a hunting club on a remote mountainside on the Czech-Polish border start dying in mysterious circumstances. The culprit? Well, eccentric local woman Janina Duszejko has a theory – she’s been observing their isolated rural neighbourhood, and she’s noticed that the animals have been acting strangely…

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead - silhouettes of people

Image: Camilla Adams

Complicité describe Tokarczuk’s work, accurately, as a “violent, genre defying novel – part thriller, part comedy, and part blistering poetic manifesto for the rights of animals and the environment”, and transforming that into a piece of theatre is no mean feat. However, having been properly ‘devised’ – the company leapt into creating the show with no script whatsoever, just a copy of Tokarczuk’s novel and a room full of genuinely creative practitioners – the end result is certain to be engaging, provocative, and sparkling with invention. It’ll be funny, too – lest we forget, Complicité first rose to the fore when winning the-then Perrier Award at the 1985 Edinburgh Fringe, with their take on A Winter’s Tale.

The show is a co-production between Complicité and thirteen other theatre companies (sure, why not!), and has been honed onstage at the Theatre Royal Plymouth before making its way to the Bristol Old Vic (where it is currently playing) and the Oxford Playhouse, before touching down at the Barbican’s infamously beautiful theatre. After that a Spring UK tour awaits, followed by performances in Germany, Luxembourg and Paris.

So if properly exciting theatre’s your thing, devise a means of getting a ticket (NB. “buying” one is probably the most straightforward approach here), hop in your plow, and drive over to the Barbican (NB. The tube is probably more advisable. Parking’s a nightmare).


Details: Complicité’s Drive Your Bones Over the Bones Of the Dead will run from 15th March – 1st April 2023. You can find out more information and book tickets (from £16) here.

Drive Your Bones Over the Bones of the Dead | Barbican Centre, Silk Street, London, EC2Y 8DS

Like theatre? Check out the best London theatre shows right now…

Drive Your Plow Over the Bones of the Dead

Barbican Centre, Silk Street, Barbican, EC2Y 8DS