Fringe Review: "The Three Deaths of Ebony Black" is enjoyable for the whole family
The Three Deaths of Ebony Black is a farcical romp reminiscent of Death at a Funeral - without the drugs, nudity and secret lovers. Which was a relief, because my date for the evening was my ten year old nephew.
Following the death of Ebony Black, we meet the funeral directors, her family and her nurse. Her funeral is a series of misunderstandings and mishaps. The myriad characters require multiple puppets - sometimes at once, and the skill of the puppeteers in bringing these to life is impressive.
The puppets created by Danny Miller are lovingly brought to life by puppeteers Amberly Cull and Nick Pages-Oliver. The relationship between performer and puppet is a lovely thing to witness, particularly in the scenes with the marionette Ebony.
The music by composer Robert Woods is wonderful addition, and a character in its own right. His unobtrusive playing gently adds to the emotion of critical scenes. This was, incidentally, my nephews favourite part of the play - “He is a really good keyboard player” was his input to this review.
The absurdist humour is at times laugh out loud funny - although there were a couple of tone deaf moments. Ebony’s entirely unlovable sister Ivory is characterised as a feminist who adopted because she didn’t want men involved in the process, and who later tells her grown children she will send them back to China. Try explaining that to a ten year old.
Universal themes of family, love and the meaning of life are explored in this family friendly play. The use of puppets as a means of storytelling makes the existential subject matter more accessible to a wider audience - although very young children will struggle to pay attention for the full hour.
3 out of 5 stars
For tickets and more info, click HERE.