Corpsing

August 12, 2021 | By | Reply More

★★★☆☆      Energetic

theSpace Triplex (Venue 38): Sat 7– Fri 27 Aug 2021
Review by Hugh Simpson

It is always pleasing to see play titles that are clear hostages to fortune, like New Celts and Red Rabbit’s Corpsing at theSpace Triplex. However, this is nothing to do with forgetting your lines, and everything to do with actual corpses.

Calum Ferguson and Lewis Lauder’s new play is set in a Greenock funeral director’s, where recent graduate Elliot takes over his late grandfather’s business, only to discover that employee Charlie has his own methods of drumming up trade. The arrival of auditor Fiona means that various skeletons, financial and otherwise, may soon be out of the cupboard…

Lewis Gemmell with the “hot and bothered” Dillon MacDonald. Pic: Red Rabbit

There is a great deal of comic energy on display, even if this occasionally resembles more of an extended sketch. The play shares many elements of farce, with its hidden secrets and twists, but farces – especially dark ones – rely on impeccable internal logic, which is not really in evidence here.

While it is certainly not as daring or as original as it would like to be – carting an excess of dead bodies around the stage has been a thing since the year dot – the script has more than enough comic brio to sustain itself. The one glaring exception is when a philosophical discussion about euthanasia suddenly drops in, drawing attention to the lack of real seriousness or character development elsewhere.

hot and bothered

Director Donna Soto-Morettini helps add to the pace, and is well served by the cast. Dillon MacDonald’s Elliot is hot and bothered enough to distract the audience from exactly why he behaves in the way he does, while Anya Borrows (Fiona) is suitably gabbily idiosyncratic. Lewis Gemmell is outstanding as Charlie, with spot-on timing and just the right degree of eye-rolling.

At times all three struggle to quite fill the acting space – words are gabbled or thrown away into what is a large and unforgiving arena.

The “gabbily idiosyncratic” Anya Borrows. Pic: Red Rabbit

Transitions between scenes are well handled, with props that range from the unfortunate  (wine bottles that are clearly plastic and empty) to the witty (a banner with a familiar deliberate mistake).

It should be pointed out that there is some swearing, although anyone worried by that is more likely to be put off by the subject matter. In truth, this is more of a knockabout romp than any serious examination of mortality – which, in the current climate, is probably just as well.

This remains particularly pertinent at a venue where advantage of the relaxed laws on social distancing has been taken, but where, at least when Æ saw the show, none of the audience were made aware of the continuing requirement to wear a mask in indoor theatres in Scotland. [Following this review, Æ contacted theSpace. It now makes audiences aware of the need to wear masks inside].

Running time 1 hour 5 minutes (no interval)
theSpace Triplex, The Prince Phillip Building, Hill Pl, EH8 9DP (Venue 38)
Saturday 7 – Friday 27 August 2021 (odd dates only)
11.30 am (odd dates only)
Information and tickets at https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/corpsing
Instagram: @redrabbittheatre
Facebook: @RedRTheatre
Twitter: @RedRTheatre

Lewis Gemmell who has “just the right degree of eye-rolling” with Dillon MacDonald. Pic: Red Rabbit

ENDS

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