A DEAD GOOD WAY WITH WORDS...
Eric is in limbo. Well, he might be, but you never can be sure of anything when a girl carrying a clipboard tells you that you're dead.
But there's no time for tears. The girl has a job to do, as does Eric. And this isn't as easy as deciding whether the chap skips off into Heaven or falls headfirst into Hell.
No, there is something else here -- something bigger. And poor Eric -- sitting in his dressing gown, complaining about the pain in his chest -- is about to have his very own This is Your Life moment. Only, there is no red book.
There is, however, a team of young narrators on hand to help fill in the blanks. Because it can get very confusing. In fact, it takes a few minutes to get comfortable and to realise that, though it may seem complicated at first, all will be explained in due time.
What's surprising is that, despite its complex setting, quick-fire narration, and quirky, indie leanings, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle has a very big heart. And a sweet musical score.
The stage set-up is simple (a beautiful study/den), while the 'flashback' sequences work surprisingly well.
Guided by Ross Dungan's marvellous script, it's a testament to the skills of the cast that they manage to make the impossible seem effortless as we step back into the childhood and young adult life of a 58-year-old man desperately trying to figure out where he is.
There may only be two people at Eric's funeral, but, as the story progresses, we discover that it's not because he was without friendship, or even love. There's the girl he could have spent his life with; the father he might as well have called his own, and, of course, the strict and often intimidating Mr Aldershot (a wonderful Davey Kelleher).
But the most important person in all of this is Young Eric (Neil Fitzpatrick). Despite Young Eric and Dead Eric (Dave McEntegart) speaking with different accents, you'll find a compelling, heart-breaking, and outstanding piece of work that is every bit as enjoyable as it is unique. There will be laughter. There may even be tears. And, if there is any justice, there will be a second run.