A Trilogy: box.

How do you summarise a whole life? Is it in the knick knacks and curios we collect? Do the objects we surround ourselves with truly represent who we are inside? And even if you love barware, does one man really need enough martini glasses to serve an entire prohibition bar?

A frenetic and charismatic presence

This autobiographically inspired story told by Mr Dennis (Dennis Elkins) explores what it means to grieve our loved ones, deal with the possessions they leave behind, and delve into ways we can discover our own identity.

Elkins has a wonderful way with words: despite never having been to South Kansas, I could vividly picture his parents’ old home, based on his descriptions, filled with the accoutrements built up over 44 years of his parents’ marriage. Many will relate to his recounting of the desperate process of dismantling the collections of a lifetime, sentimental paraphernalia with little to no value to anyone outside of direct relatives.

Placed in centre stage is the humble corrugated cardboard box. It’s clear that this much overlooked object is actually often our most loyal sidekick, following us throughout our lives and perhaps to our death. Most poignantly, Mr Dennis describes receiving his son’s ashes in a cardboard box, but he also uses his cardboard prop alternatively as a child’s toy, a hiding place, and the representation of the baggage grief brings: both physical and metaphorical.

At times childlike and playful, and at others dignified and stately, Elkins is always a frenetic and charismatic presence on stage. Despite the often sombre themes addressed, his high energy and good nature ensures that it remains lighthearted, with plenty to chuckle at.

A Trilogy: box is one of a three related works from Dennis Elkins playing here at Edinburgh Fringe – although there’s no set order to watch them in, and each works as a standalone piece. This piece is defined by profound ruminations that are buoyed by an optimistic outlook. You’ll leave considering a new perspective on what you really value, and whether it’s the kind thing that’ll go in a cardboard box at all.

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Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
Donate to Acting For Others now

Performances

Location

The Blurb

Mr Dennis wants to know: why is our identity so bound up in our possessions? Are we throwing away our loved ones with their things when they die? Combining childlike wonder, adult cynicism, and Shakespearean gravitas in his impressively compelling story, master storyteller Dennis Elkins tackles these questions and more. With heart-warming stories told by a man so naturally inclined to tell them you’ll be on the edge of your seat, captivated by tales of drowning in cardboard and martini glasses.

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