The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle
Soho Theatre, London
Until April 20
IT would be impossible to review Dublin-based playwright Ross Dungan’s third theatrical work without mentioning the ‘Q’ word.
Actors playing folk songs on guitar; a set filled with retro furniture; mismatched lamps alternately illuminating sections of the stage and a young, goodlooking cast of twentysomethings moving through the plot at a frantic pace.
Even its title, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle, evokes the sort of off-beat, hipster and yes, quirky, world of filmmakers such as Wes Anderson or Charlie Kaufman.
And film is a good reference point for this excellent piece of new theatre, moved along at a frantic pace by director Dan Herd and played with infectious enthusiasm by a fine Irish cast.
With its hyperactive narration and Dave McEntegart’s likable, uncomfortable portrayal of Eric Argyle — a 57-year-old man killed in a road accident who finds himself in limbo forced to look back upon the events which led to a paltry attendance at his funeral — Dungan’s work brings to mind Will Ferrell’s 2006 movie Stranger Than Fiction.
Like that movie, the overriding themes of the play deal with faith, destiny, regret, despair and the question as to whether happiness can be derived from a life half-lived. A kind of zany take on It’s A Wonderful Life, The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle is shot through with no little amount of humour and makes for an engaging piece of theatre that slowly unfurls its delightfully warm and life-affirming tale. Recommended.
The Life and Sort of Death of Eric Argyle runs at Soho Theatre, London, until April 20