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The Not So Fatal Death Of Grandpa Fredo (Salford)

Rating: 4 out of 5 stars
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Venue: Lowry
Where: Salford

The town of Reliance is so depressing that it attracts suicides rather than tourists. Local environmentalist Fridtijof Fredo (a sweetly innocent Ewan Donald) incurs the wrath of despotic yet sexy Mayor Conquest (Imogen Toner) by operating a DIY cryogenics factory in which he preserves his late grandfather on dry ice in his garden shed.

A story so bonkers could only be based on fact and the play, therefore could have been a self-indulgent mess. Yet written, directed and designed by Candice Edmunds and Jamie Harrison (with music by Michael John McCarthy) this becomes an anarchic commemoration of the individual.

The excellent and enthusiastic cast is completed by Simon Donaldson and Harry Ward who play a range of instruments and enact a town of eccentrics.

The imaginative design and direction allow scenes to be viewed cinematically from different angles. Costume changes are hilariously achieved by projection techniques. Sections of the shed unfold to create the town diner, mortuary and other locations. In a remarkable and touching sequence a lake and fishing boat are extracted from the shed to fill the entire stage

For a show that celebrates the diversity of life, The Not - So - Fatal Death of Grandpa Fredo is, er... dead good!

- Dave Cunningham


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