Theatre review: Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, Summerhall, Edinburgh

It's hard to decide whether this new work of eclectic physical character comedy from London company Ridiculusmus is truly adopting the tone of its title or whether it's trying to present something more carefully considered and affectionate.

Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, Summerhall (Venue 26)
Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, Summerhall (Venue 26)

Die! Die! Die! Old People Die!, Summerhall * * *

The experience of watching it, however, falls somewhere in between; that there are cheap laughs to be had in the fact that very old people are physically slow and frail - and possibly stuffily right-wing, so the stereotype has it - but that their internal life reveals a wealth of pathos.

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Writers, directors and performers David Woods and Jon Haynes play an extremely elderly couple, who sit down at the dining table and potter for a while, before he offers her a drink. These events take up most of the play, occurring in an extreme, shufflingly stylised slow motion which is wonderfully performed, despite outstaying it's welcome before long (although a twitching fast-forward sequence in which he fetches and lays out a tablecloth is beautifully done).

Then she dies - possibly as a result of his sexual attentions - and another stand-out scene emerges with his funeral eulogy for her, in which he produces a sheaf of messages received since her death. Some of them are baldly sexual, and one is a reminder from Npower. It’s tough to stay respectful and not laugh at that.

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DAVID POLLOCK

Until 25 August

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