Death is a funny thing when you think about it: it’s the only certain thing in this world yet the majority of us deny its existence, but as performer Liz Rothschild points out, if we don’t think about death then we also don’t think about life. Rothschild is a celebrant; she performs non-denominational or even religious funeral services and last rites, so we’re in the more than capable hands of an expert. With a surprisingly upbeat yet welcome perspective on death, Rothschild takes us on a whistle stop tour around the globe, pointing out the sometimes weird and mostly wonderful, but always insightful, worldviews on death.
A remarkably refreshing and important show, gently dancing on the line between playful irreverence and necessary solemnity
During the course of the performance lecture, filled with apparently light-hearted anecdotes that belie great profundity, Rothschild gently challenges our preconceptions of death and, more specifically, our reluctance to discuss or even consider its inevitability – did you know, for example, that 70% of people in the UK leave no will or letter of wishes? If that’s a shock to you, then Rothschild’s show may turn out to be very necessary viewing. Aided with some startling figures, wonderful music and a rather large arts and crafts project (she’s been weaving a wicker coffin onstage over the course of the run), Outside the Box: A Live Show About Death proves to be a hidden gem of the Fringe. Rothschild is also a delightfully engaging performer and consummate storyteller, inviting an intimacy that makes the whole performance feel like you’re in her living room rather than a lecture theatre, as well as playing a whole host of characters with remarkable clarity and energy.
On the whole Outside the Box is a remarkably refreshing and important show, gently dancing on the line between playful irreverence and necessary solemnity – it’s a beautiful reminder that life and death exist on different sides of the same coin, and we have to accept one to truly appreciate the other.