Fringe Review: The Trunk - the fear of dying '˜un-remembered'

The Trunk

Sunday, 7th August 2016, 3:50 pm
Updated Sunday, 7th August 2016, 4:53 pm
Max Dickin - The Trunk, Festival Fringe 2016

The Wee Coo is a suitably intimate setting for The Trunk - a one-man play about the ties that bind and the fear of dying alone.

The Trunk Underbelly George Square, The Wee Coo (Venue 300)

Rating: *** (from 7)

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Run ends: August 28

The Wee Coo is a suitably intimate setting for The Trunk - a one-man play about the ties that bind and the fear of dying alone.

The trunk sits centre stage. Its contents contain the narrative of this story told by Max Dickins, taken along by his new colleagues in the coroner’s office to the home of an elderly woman who has lain dead in her armchair for one month; the smell alerting neighbours to her passing which, otherwise has gone unnoticed.

It’s his first encounter with a dead body.

His task is to find the paper trail - passports, bank statements, legal letters - that will allow his office to finalise her affairs, trace next of kin, and then close the case and move on to the next one. The process that clears up the loose ends of lives that have expired.

But what if there are no immediate links to family of close friends?

Dickins is a temp who yearns for a career in the media, but who finds himself drawn to the contents of a trunk found in her attic. It becomes a mystery he wants to resolve.

So, what was her life becomes central to his as he tries to make sense of the clues left behind in the shape of old photographs, a bundle of letters and some its of clothing; all precious and important but difficult to piece together with the narrator no longer there to tell her story.

Dickins brings a host of characters into his story which is much wider than simply the quest to lay one elderly woman to rest.

It touches on the universal theme of life, loss, and loneliness - of relatives lost to alzheimers, of painful decisions taken in very different times having lifelong consequences, and of the ‘’fear of being un-remembered.’’

It’s also as much about his own life as he lodges with his grandfather who has been recently widowed, as it is about his colleagues whose idiosyncrasies add light and shade, and humour, to the narrative.

It’s a story that anyone can identify with - one well told over the course of an hour.

The back story is fleshed out with pictures and some props, and recorded interviews bring the voice of his own grandfather, and the woman’s sister to life.

It’s told simply but it’s told well.

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