Grandpa Fredo has sadly been dead for quite some time – he’s being preserved in dry ice by his grieving nephew, the sole proponent of a utopian society from which death will be eliminated.
However, even in death, Grandpa Fredo is the most significant celebrity in the once-thriving, but now itself dying, community of Reliance Falls, where the police face redundancy and the Chamber of Commerce is down to its last business. As the cast tell us, Reliance Falls is s**t, its river polluted, its landscape ruined and its principal attraction is now as a suicide location.
Trout perish in the water, but the town’s remaining inhabitants are determined to survive, even if they don’t know how.
Vox Motus, however breathe life into the place, taking us on an inspired journey which rocks along with welcome musical and vocal interruptions – four actors readily and simply morphing into a four piece of considerable range. When it’s discovered that Fridtjof Fredo has embalmed his grandpa in a very unorthodox manner and keeps him in a shed on his property with another corpse for company, Mayor Marilyn Conquest and her trusty Officer Mac decide stern measures are necessary. The ensuing mayhem exposes the soft side of ethnic stereotypes, but the fun’s too frantic and febrile to object to.
As ever, technology works for Vox Motus, and the lighting and sound effects are as much a part of the production’s impact as the actors and script. The entire piece manages to maintain a pleasant edginess befitting its subject matter, engaging the audience in Fridtjof’s desperate efforts to preserve his grandfather against not only mortality but the power of the state and prejudice of the people around him. It’s an impossible task, of course, but the journey toward the grave is one filled with laughter and stylish inventiveness.
7-29 August (not Mondays) times vary; see Fringe Programme for details