REVIEW: MORIBUND (Live At Zedel) ★★★


This is the second show by quirky Gimcrack Productions, following on from their debut ‘Gimcrackery’, of which I have also seen. It was interesting to witness both productions, to get a feel for their style and to better understand what it is they are aiming to achieve.

Eleanor Hush (Rosie Kohl) awakens to find herself the subject of her own funeral, a situation anyone would find rather alarming. The devilishly bewitching character of Driscoll O’Bleak (George Collie), now a recurring narrator in Gimcrack Productions’ work, is overseeing the proceedings as funeral director takes her under his wing and launches her into a flurry of science, philosophy and culture, discussing the intricacies of death and dying.

We saw before us a mostly cheerful (in light of the content) cabaret, including a variety of original songs, dancing, and comedic narrative. The show delivers well-researched and interesting snippets of information, challenging the audience’s knowledge on a topic that is inevitable for us all but of which we know hardly anything about. The characters of Bleak and Hush are unsettling yet undeniably likeable, and I particularly liked the final duet whereby the main lyrics were: “Enjoy yourself, it’s later than you think”, delivering the message that we should all make the most of life as it is far too short. This uplifting and motivational message was communicated well, and I left feeling with a refreshed perspective on life; it’s rewarding to walk away from a piece of work having ‘grown’ somewhat from it.

I will, however, impart the disappointing aspects of the performance, as they need to be addressed – particularly as ‘Moribund’ is not in its early stages (quite the opposite, it was at the Edinburgh Fringe summer 2015). By this point there is no excuse for fluffing of lines or forgetting lyrics mid-song (whilst respectfully recovered, still very noticeable), and the dance routines were sadly very average, with a rather stiff tango and a drawn-out singular routine by Kohl, which became a little awkward to watch after five long minutes of hearing Collie’s solemn narrative talking over it. I found myself either very engrossed in the action or completely switched off and rather bored, and this isn’t a good rollercoaster to subject your audience to. Some scenes are far too drawn out and slapstick, whilst others, in stark contrast, are well structured and profound – a more cohesive journey is desperately needed in this script. At times the singing was off-key, receiving a few winces from the audience, and just begs the case that this shows lacks the refinery it truly should have gained by now.

I won’t pretend I’m still bemused and befuddled by their tales, but I must commend Gimcrack Productions on their unwavering commitment to their style. This production is a considerable improvement from their first, and with a few structural and stylistic corrections, could win a higher rating. Worth seeing if you want to experience something barmy and unique, but potentially enlightening.

Reviewed by Laura Evans