Award-winning performance artist and comedian of Fringes gone by, Ben Target, welcomes us with coffee on arrival into the Anatomy Lecture Theatre at Summerhall, a delightfully old-school venue with wooden horseshoe seating, once used – presumably – for human dissection. Despite the friendly atmosphere Target creates, death has already crept in.
A play about dying that’s never predictable and always, oddly, a pleasure
It’s not only the venue that suggests death is lurking, for early on we are also asked to consider our own dream demise. As we contemplate our own mortality, Target deftly sweeps us up in his narrative with the artful rhythm of a conductor, finding cadence even when letting in latecomers.
Without the expensive-looking carpentry bench and shadow-art displays, Ben Target’s Lorenzo would still have substance. A heartfelt true story about providing end-of-life care to a family member during COVID, told in such a way that is never predictable and always, oddly, a pleasure.
The show’s subject matter is nuanced and fresh in its telling. Uncle Lorenzo, we discover, is a Cantonese-speaking immigrant with a criminal upbringing and Ben, his privileged, bisexual nephew. Through this odd dynamic, we learn a lesson in Eastern carpentry, the art of caregiving and the indignity of dying.
As a touching and precisely crafted send-off for Uncle Lorenzo and Target’s late director Adam Brace, Ben Target succeeds, also gifting us in the meantime with more gratitude for life and love.