Let the Bodies Pile by Henry Naylor

Theatre (new writing, drama)

  • Accessibility:
    Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
    May not apply to all performances. You'll find more information about accessibile performances and how to book tickets in the accessibility tab below.
  • Babes in arms policy: Babies do not require a ticket
  • Policy applies to: Children under 2 years


What connects two seemingly unrelated killings, 27 years apart? In 1993, Steve's mother dies suddenly; can he trust GP Harold Shipman's 'Natural Causes' diagnosis? And in 2020, when dozens die in a Yorkshire Care Home; is Covid responsible, or something more sinister? Three-time Fringe First winner Naylor has won over 45 major international fringe theatre awards, and currently holds the IFES World's Best Fringe Theatre title. Bobby Award-winning, and Outstanding Theatre Award-winning (Brighton Fringe) actress Emily Carding stars, and it's directed by the SoHo Playhouse (New York)'s Artistic Director, Darren Lee Cole.

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General venue access

  • Wheelchair Accessible Toilets
  • Accessible entry: Entrance via level access after taking stairs or lift to level 2.
  • Wheelchair access type: Level Access, Lift (Building Lift)

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

Each venue can contain several space with different accessibly information. Visit the venue page for full venue accessibility info

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Emerlist 32 days ago

We always include Henry Naylor’s plays when choosing which shows to see.
They are always excellent and this show was no exception. Superbly acted and a reminder of the shambles that was the Government’s response to Covid.
Occasional really funny bits that served to highlight just how tragic the whole thing was.
It was our last show on the last day of the Fringe. Keep the best until last.

Sean Davis 32 days ago

Let the Bodies Pile by Henry Naylor (****)
During the height of the Covid pandemic, after suspecting that her brother had their mother euthanized, a nurse is confronted with ethical situations at her hospital. The play does a good job of highlighting the subtle problems caused by a shortage of funding for the NHS. In particular, the system puts her in an untenable situation where she either endangers one person or endangers many.

This is the 31st most enjoyable of the 223 Fringe shows I saw this year. You may see my other three-sentence reviews, in order from most enjoyable to worst, at my non-commercial website: https://fringefan.com/

Charlotte Webb 34 days ago

I'm always amazed at how fringe theatre, in the course of an hour can stop our busy lives in their tracks and create a portal into another world, clever theatre introduces new thoughts, ideas or perspectives along the way, the bravest seeks to move us so that when the lights come up and we come back to ourselves it lingers with us and we find ourselves changed by the encounter. Thought provoking and challenging "Let the Bodies Pile" is a play that makes its audience complicit, even by looking away, in the 'plague of indifference' that can be endemic of our times. It raises uncomfortable questions of our responsibility to society and attitude towards age and to each other. Under the commanding lead of Emily Carding's multi-faceted performance we are led to a mirror in which to ask; "What would you do?"," What did you do?" - but there is, if you listen, beneath the raw and emotive subject matter of death, murder, politics and the pandemic (which I'm sure may be triggering to some) a rallying cry to action - and, when action eludes us - to care... and to keep caring. With a slick pace and dark humour that keeps this challenge from feeling too judgemental or hopeless this feels like a play urging us towards a 'brave new world' where we redefine our values and reclaim compassion - whilst unflinchingly honest about the course and consequences of the choices we are currently making, well worth the watch if you can catch it in these last two days.

David Wilson 36 days ago

This show is the very point of fringe. Theatre with some teeth and something to say. Naylor has penned a chilling examination of two instances of systemic death. The twin themes of the Shipman murders and the failure of Hancock's covid response to care for the vulnerable are sewn neatly together without the need for any overt, heavy-handed "nudge nudge d'ya get it?" moments. The writing is supported masterfully by Carding's perfomance in the various roles throughout. A true chameleon, they carry each character with a core of truth and lend each line a new heft. Their performance was full of equal parts warmth and chilly pragmatism, in a way that can't help but pull the audience in. This show is worth seeing for any Fringe-goer who wants to say they saw it before it was famous.

Jonathan Smith 36 days ago

Let the Bodies Pile is a rather uneven combination of two loosely connected stories that may have worked better as individual plays. In the first part, a woman returns home for her mother's apparently routine funeral, only to conclude that her GP Harold Shipman may be responsible. The second part focuses on a care home in lockdown, where a struggling care worker comes into contact with the brother of the woman in the first part. Both parts have their moments but the ending of the first isn't convincing and the second includes repetitive demonisation of Matt Hancock, and a rather clumsy attempt to link the stories.

Ben 38 days ago

Always baffles me that someone would put this much time and effort into a medically-themed show without taking the trouble to get someone medical to read over the script. 10 minutes with a red pen would have been sufficient for diagnosis and treatment with reasonable prognosis. Unfortunately, the nonsense application of jargon and clumsily incorporated terminology made this a painful watch.

With this in mind, the greatest social commentary on display here was the assumption that Googling something makes you an expert. I doubt that was the intention.

Flagman 39 days ago

Brilliant writing, acting and atmosphere.

My only gripe is how weird and detailed the dream bits are. Felt a bit uncomfortable with those.

Wendy Bond 43 days ago

The linkage of Hindley, Shipman and Covid was utterly chilling and a distressing commentary on our society. Superbly written and acted.

Charlotte Walker 53 days ago

Superb writing, directing and acting. My heart filled with joy when I saw a black box with three chairs and nothing else on the stage. This is Fringe as it should be - no frills and all substance. This chilling tale is brilliantly told.

Alexander Lang 55 days ago

Highly recommended. This brings back bad, but important memories. A play I will remember for a long time, with a superb performance by Emily Carding!

Colin Harper 55 days ago

I can thouroughly recommend this splendid piece of theatre. Powerful and thought provoking yet very entertaining.

Not a cheeery subject but well written and with truly great performances: the audience were all muttering how good it was on the way out.

Elizabeth Parry 56 days ago

Interesting juxtaposition of two major 'health' events with discussions about different types of responsibility. The care home section also prompted the uncomfortable question of 'what would I have done' in the same situation. Convincing script brought to life with simple staging and two excellent performances. Definitely recommend.

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Theatre Extra (5/5 stars) 33 days ago

this play can be summed up in one word: magnificent

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Scottish Field (3/5 stars) 37 days ago

Let the Bodies Pile is well worth going to see.

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Entertainment Now (4/5 stars) 42 days ago

IF YOU feel the need for a sobering hour or so amidst all the stand-up comedy at the Fringe, this hard-hitting play is just the ticket.

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Voice Magazine (4/5 stars) 42 days ago

I would encourage every single person to see it.

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One4Review (4.5/5 stars) 42 days ago

Emily Carding shines in this piece, as she is completely believable in both parts, especially as the hard-bitten care worker.

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West End Best Friend (4/5 stars) 43 days ago

Compelling and dramatic.

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Broadway World (4/5 stars) 44 days ago

Let The Bodies Pile is a powerful and chilling piece of theatre.

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Fest (3/5 stars) 48 days ago

Henry Naylor's latest play links two kinds of killer.

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British Theatre Guide (4/5 stars) 49 days ago

There is a touch of Alfred Hitchcock in Henry Naylor’s provocative and powerful thriller Let The Bodies Pile, which links two horrific episodes of mass killing by a central character’s traumatised observation of events that seem out of their control.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.