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Death on the Fringe

Death had a starring role in this year’s Edinburgh Fringe Festival, thanks to a series of shows looking at the topic from different perspectives.

Death on the Fringe was part of the on-going charity-led campaign, Good Life, Good Death, Good Grief, which works to promote more openness about death, dying and bereavement. 

The aim is to make people aware of ways to live with death, dying and bereavement and help them feel better equipped to support each other through those difficult times.

Some of the shows were serious and some comical but all aimed to make the audience think about what it means to live well and die well.

Stand-up comedy came from a satirical look at anorexia and the death of a partner in Over It: Death, Anorexia & Other Funny Things and from 80-year-old Lynn Ruth Miller’s show Not Dead Yet.

Comic Nathan Cassidy, meanwhile, based his comedy show – Date of Death – on exactly that, promising to give all his belongings away and present everyone in the audience with £5, while dancing to Phil Collins. 

Death-themed comedy-dramas included Chris Is Dead – an awkwardly funny, play about love, loss and splitting the phone bill, and Dead Fresh Freshers, which featured sex, alcohol and a corpse under a bed. 

Another play, Jim, centred on two sons preparing to say goodbye to their dad, and The Three Peaks was about two groups of walkers whose walks are separated by 12 months that shape their lives. 

There were musical plays too. Alba looked at the story of a young man returning reluctantly to rural Scotland, while Sinatra: The Final Curtain centred on the character of the legendary singer looking back on a lifetime of entertainment. 

Productions for children weren’t neglected. Duck, Death and the Tulip (pictured above) told the story of a duck who struck up an unlikely friendship with Death.

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