Updated: Jan 1, 2020
With your loved ones dropping like flies and daily activities taking hours, this show is a painstaking, and excellently crafted, exploration of old age.
Jon Haynes and David Woods, who make up award winning company Ridiculusmus, take to the stage...eventually. The first ten minutes of the show are swallowed by the pair's journey from the curtains to a table in the centre of the space. The decrepit Norman, played by Woods, is clad in an oversized black suit whilst his wife Vi, portrayed by Haynes, clings on to him for dear life. The pair make their way centre stage, tottering and vulnerable in an opening sequence that seems to last a lifetime. When they do eventually reach their destination it takes another five minutes to sit Vi down on the chair.
In the background the ominous tick of a cuckoo clock dictates the plodding passing of time, and some well placed chirps of the bird inside signify just how long they've been pottering around.
Ridiculusmus have never been interested in traditional plays. They are genre bending dark clowns and performers of the highest order, with acting skills that could rival any other show at the fringe. Their fragility is so believable I wanted to get onstage and lend them my arm. As you watch Norman, mouth agape, stare blankly into the audience and fumble with his medicine, whilst Vi attempts to remember what day of the week it is, you become acutely aware of the potential of their youth. The agonising frustration of taking an age to make a coffee, when before it took you minutes, must be excruciating. I felt lucky to still be young.
The story, if their is one, suggests some sort of love triangle at work, but the show's greatest accolade is in its ability to show, rather than tell. It shows us how long things can take when your body is failing you, how hard it is to say what you want when your mind is not what it was, how hard it is to show affection when leaning in for a kiss takes up all your energy, to keep up with technology, to drink a glass of water, to sit down, to stand up, to keep going. They do that, and they make you laugh, and they make your heart break, and they make you cringe, and check your watch, as they plod about the stage, mesmeric in their mundanity.
Die! Die! Die! Old People Die! is on at Summerhall TechCube 0 at 17:40 until the 25th August (not 19th)
Tickets available here - https://tickets.edfringe.com/whats-on/die-die-die-old-people-die
Ridiculusmus were kind enough to do an interview with us at the start of their run which you can read here - https://www.the-crumb.com/post/edinburgh-preview-an-interview-with-ridiculusmus