Now in its 24th year at the Fringe, the Young Pleasance present a revival of their 2009 production A Grave Situation, a comedy musical by Tim Norton and with music and lyrics by Ned Bennett. This wartime romp is an ideal production for The Young Pleasance, allowing the large ensemble cast to really show off what they are capable of.
Directors Tim Norton, Kathryn Norton-Smith and Jo Billington really know how to draw out the strengths of each of the young performers, ensuring that the whole cast has an opportunity to shine in this fantastically fun musical treat.
It’s 1940 and with wartime casualities at a high, a family firm of grave diggers are called upon to serve their country. The group of brothers are dispatched to France, with the youngest brother Chippy having to leave behind his new sweetheart Ethel Peas. On arrival the brothers discover they’ve accidentally buried their rifles in Dover and so take refuge drinking absinthe in a French brothel.
Having missed the last boat home, and with the Germans advancing, the brothers need to find their own way home, encountering a series of situations that become more and more bizarre. These absurd adventures, along with some good old-fashioned British innuendo make this a delightfully funny production that will delight all ages.
Ned Bennett’s score, with a ring of Gilbert and Sullivan to it, makes for enjoyable listening, even kicking off with an ambitious patter song. The staging looks fantastic, as do Simone Jones’ costumes. The whole cast do a marvellous job, and Leo Milne as Chippy and Kirsty Campbell as Ethel are exceptionally well paired, while Louis Rudnicki gives a really lovely performance and a brief turn from Brydie Service as Ena, creates much hilarity.
A Grave Situation demonstrates for another year how vital the Young Pleasance is to the Fringe, creating productions of an exceptionally high standard which delight and entertain audiences, while at the same time providing immeasurable opportunities for young performers.