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The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle
Published on Tuesday, 14 August 2012
5

5 stars (Critic's Choice)

Pleasance Dome (venue website)
Theatre
1-12, 14-27 Aug, 12:00pm-1:30pm
Reviewed by Alice de Cent

 Recommended for age 12+ only.

After Eric Argyle dies at 11:42am, he finds himself before an audience, watching critical scenes from his life played out. As his memories unfold, two men wait by a grave, thousands of letters are delivered to a young woman in the middle of the night, and a chain of events is put in motion meaning a judgment must be made.

The ensemble cast play multiple characters, share the narration, and play the excellent music that underscores much of the show. Coupled with a set formed of a few pieces of furniture, crating the various settings of each scene, this adds a charming hand-made feel to the piece. This is storytelling at its best.

The script is fast-paced and full of laugh-out-loud moments, expertly crafting moments of real emotion and sometimes tragedy – all against the backdrop of the surreal gathering Eric has entered. With so many characters enigmatically introduced, it is testament to the skill of the cast and the careful simplicity of the writing that the audience can enjoy these moments, knowing that the company is in control and all loose ends are sure to be tied up.

The world of the play is well developed, and the strangeness of the afterlife is always delightful. The show is also full of playful touches, from the offbeat start and the references to the audience. It all makes for a thoroughly enjoyable hour.

The Life And Sort Of Death Of Eric Argyle takes a demanding concept, and develops the show into something even more. This is the kind of production many at the Fringe are trying to achieve. 15th Oak Productions not only do this, but go above and beyond.

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FROM OUR ARCHIVES

These are archived reviews of shows from Edinburgh 2012.  We keep our archives online as a courtesy to performers, and for readers who'd like to research previous years' reviews.

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