Plays by Robin French

Gilbert is Dead

Bloomsbury Publishing
Type: Text

Gilbert Is Dead is a Victorian scientific mystery play: a clever, funny and moving portrait of grief, faith and science.

The plot follows Lucius Trickett, London's most celebrated taxidermist, who finds himself in cahoots with Queen Victoria and the hero Gilbert Shirley, to disprove Darwin's theory of evolution. The key is a stuffed specimen of the mysterious ghost loris, suicidal enough to disprove the theory that every animal struggles for survival. But Gilbert goes missing and the fate of Trickett’s private museum hangs in the balance. The play’s distinctive, often surrealist voice is characterised by historically intelligent, meticulously researched subjects and a precise, quirky sense of irony. It is an academic, mad-cap labyrinth, toying with history, scientific theories and popular beliefs.

Gilbert is Dead premiered at Hoxton Music Hall, London in 2009.

Robin French studied modern and medieval languages at Cambridge University and playwriting on the Royal Court Young Writers' Programme. Plays include Bear Hug (Royal Court Theatre Upstairs and subsequent productions in Italy, Germany, Ireland and Poland), Africa and Pigeon (Flight 5065 on the London Eye), and Breakfast Hearts/Choirplay (Theatre 503). Robin was chosen by the Observer as one of the country's most promising talents. He is writer in residence at Birmingham Repertory Theatre.