Edinburgh Fringe 2021
Sure-footed acting, a plot with myriad twists and turns and an outcome that will surprise.
There are relatively few certainties in life apart from Covid U-turns from politicians, taxes and death itself. But even the latter is becoming easier to plan for with the growth of funeral plans offered by local and corporate funeral directors alike.
Invest your hard-earned savings early to ensure peace of mind when it comes to planning your farewell bash. This guarantees your funeral parlour of choice a steady flow of advance bookings and a pile of cash to invest and make a bit of money from. But what happens when the paperwork’s chaotic, the investment choices more than a little dodgy and selective amnesia means that no-one’s remembered to pay the taxman his cut?
Corpsing is a play devised and delivered by students at Edinburgh Napier, written with humour and panache by Calum Ferguson and Lewis Lauder and directed with elan by Donna Soto-Morettini.
Elliot (Dillon MacDonald) is surprised to find he’s inherited his grandfather’s funeral business and arrives bright eyed and bushy tailed, fresh from completing a business degree, ready to get stuck in. Only things aren’t quite how he expected to find them. The accounts don’t bear any relation to the cash in the bank and the “investments” appear to have tanked. And, whilst it’s a small town full of old folk who seem eager to hang on to life, to paraphrase an alleged remark of Boris Johnson, the “bodies keep piling up”.
Enter the garrulous Charlie (Lewis Gemmell), the long time assistant in the business, who has an enlightened view of the process of turning cadavers into cash – Dignitas with a difference if you like. The horrified Elliot then hits the panic button when he discovers that the business is long overdue a visit from its auditor. Enter the chirpy, loquacious Fiona (Anya Borrows) to rummage through the books and locate any skeletons lurking in the cupboards.
Full of amusing one-liners, puns and, at times, macabre humour this is a clever look at death that successfully highlights real questions of morality around the whole concept of assisted dying as well as exploring death as a release, as something natural and as something that people make a living from.
The acting is sure footed throughout with clear, crisp delivery helping the audience follow the myriad twists and turns of the cleverly scripted plot where red herrings abound, sending the audience off in one direction only to redirect them moments later.
The denouement is a classic – set the audience up well in advance so they think they know what’s about to happen, throw in a very clever twist to make them think again and then completely floor them with the final turn. Priceless!
Definitely recommended viewing for anyone with an interest in planning their own funeral.