For a show at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe entitled Corpsing you might be forgiven for thinking it’s a comedy about laughing out of place. The golden urn on the poster is the give-away, however. In this case it refers to the art of acquiring dead bodies in order to keep a dying business alive.
A gasping double twist at the end will particularly appeal to aficionados of who dunnits.
Not that there is any shortage of laughs in this simple story about fate and a missing fortune.
Newly graduated from Imperial College London, Elliot (Dillon MacDonald) has inherited his grandfather’s well-established funeral business in small-town Scotland. Full of enthusiasm for the opportunity to put his studies into practical effect he arrives to find the only employee, Charlie (Lewis Gemmell) busily at work lumping black-sacked corpses around the place. It’s not long before he realises that the town could never have a natural mortality rate to match the number of funerals they carry out. He also finds serious discrepancies in the books just as he receives the news that the auditors’ office is about to make an inspection. Enter the bubbly Fiona (Anya Borrows), complete with laptop, to carry out the investigation that reveals more than Elliot could ever have imagined. Playwrights Calum Ferguson and Lewis Lauder include an almost serious discussion about euthanasia within the script. A gasping double twist at the end will particularly appeal to aficionados of who dunnits.
Gemmel holds this piece together as a simple local with a twisted sense of morality and an irrational grasp of logic. What he does get is the art of black comedy inherent in this play. In contrast, MacDonald seems less sure about the nature of the piece, which works less well, and very much leaves him playing second fiddle. Meanwhile, Borrows has a chatty style of humour and a little chuckle reminiscent of Sarah Millican which is delightfully entertaining
Corpsing is created by Red Rabbits and is one of eight plays performed by different companies of students from Edinburgh Napier University and Queen Margaret University under the umbrella of New Celts Productions.