Corpses, video games, shoot-outs, manic harbingers of death, desperate surgery and blood and gore galore are the mainstay of the action-packed 70 minutes that is Firearms and Fingertips.
A DJ plays in the corner, a corpse with a bloodied torso lies still on a hospital bed. After several minutes we realise that the corpse isn’t quite dead yet and frantic doctors and nurses try to revive him. He’s in pain, screaming, gurgling, swearing and asking for his mum. She’s outside. He’s been shot and she found him by the bins when she arrived home with their takeaway. He’s a good boy; no reason for anyone to shoot him.
Cue the harbingers of death, they love a good death but it really isn’t the same these days. They lament for the good old days of plague with all the puss, and the times when people died of syphilis. The ’80s were good too; that was the time of AIDS you know.
They are presenting a show: ‘This is Your Death’. They wake almost dead Spencer up to tell him the good news. He doesn’t take it too well. With plenty of macabre pomp and fanfare they introduce a series of guests: Spencer’s mum, his girlfriend, shooter Jordan, and Jordan’s mum. As they are hot-seated in turn we learn more about the background of the incident as well as being introduced to the five stages of grief.
A mock-up of ‘The X-Factor’ (‘The Death Factor’), a killing spree computer game and a re-enactment of a war-zone in which the actors race around the place shooting each other and using members of the audience for cover. Bit by bit the reasons for the shooting are uncovered. Was it bad parenting? Was it a disloyal girlfriend? Or was Spencer not the good boy his mother believed him to be?
The dark themes of teenagers and guns, death and bereavement are dealt with in a way that is chilling and humorous. And loud. And freaky.
In the end Spencer dies. It couldn’t end any other way. We return to the hospital scene with the doctors and nurses realising they can’t save him and his mum coming to his bedside and hugging his bloodied body as she says her final goodbye.