The House of Shades is a state-of-the nation play that covers the past six decades of grinding poverty in Nottingham. The action opens in 1965 with a corpse being sponged down by an amusingly saucy mortician. The dead man, Alistair, sits up and walks into the kitchen where he natters with his prickly, loud-mouthed wife, Constance (Anne-Marie Duff). They seem to live in the city’s most dangerous dwelling. People keep dying. Then they come back to life to make a speech or two. Constance’s pregnant daughter doesn’t survive a back-room abortion and she shows up half a dozen times in a skirt dripping with blood. Alistair expires again and returns to life to tell us what it’s like to die. How the writer, Beth Steel, researched this experience isn’t clear.