The Three Deaths of Ebony Black @ Underbelly Bristo Sq

Ridiculous yet compassionate, The Three Deaths of Ebony Black looks at the three ways an individual dies

Review by Dominic Corr | 13 Aug 2019
  • The Three Deaths of Ebony Black @ Underbelly Bristo Sq

Kicking the bucket, shuffling off the mortal coil, pushing daisies, and heading off to greener pastures. We don’t like to talk about death directly, do we? Other nations celebrate it, dignify the passing of ancestors. The Three Deaths of Ebony Black looks at three ways someone dies. First, when the body ceases to function. Following this, after they are buried, and finally after someone says their name for the last time.

It's Departures meets the Muppets, as a cast of ten puppets find themselves arguing, falling in love and vomiting in and about a funeral parlour. Not for the faint of heart, Danny Miller's handmade creations are as adorable as they are sinister. They often communicate emotion with such clarity, you have no desire to watch puppeteers Amberley Cull or Nick Pages-Oliver.

Making its UK debut, this infamous puppet musical from Australia looks at dying in a ridiculous yet compassionate musical. Cull and Robert Woods compose several songs which ring of South Park’s Trey Parker and Matt Stone. The numbers are ludicrous, on occasion disgusting and in one scene rather moving. They don’t all have staying power, as you’ll leave humming a tune or two, only recalling the odd lyric.

What has staying power, are The Three Deaths of Ebony Black’s impacts of reality. The closing, in particular, is a breath of honesty in how we approach the subjects of passing, illness and death to a new generation. As a great person once said, “death is but the next great adventure”. Over the course of an hour, The Three Deaths of Ebony Black satirises the ideals we hold around mortality but respects the individual need for such beliefs. 

The Three Deaths of Ebony Black, Underbelly Bristo Square (Daisy), until 26 Aug, £8.50-10.50