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For The Love Of Cousins

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Blazing Hyena’s new funeral farce is a fun hour of bantering, bickering cousins

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@ Wee Red Bar, Edinburgh, until Fri 11 Mar 2016

It’s a fun, snappy hour of knockabout verbal sparring at Edinburgh Art College’s Wee Red Bar as local company Blazing Hyena unveil their new funeral farce. Staged in the round, most informally, with Chesterfield sofas and table lamps, it’s a laid-back evening of lightly-warped laughs.

A cast of ten play a group of cousins and partners gathered in a front room on the day of Gran’s funeral. They’re a motley crew, perhaps beyond what seems feasible within the bounds of one family, a spread of ten completely different Gen Y stereotypes. Uptight Claire (Lara Wauchope), snarly Dana (Rosie Milne), wannabe player Teddy (Nathan Dunn) and hippy Evan (James Boal) are the most distinctly drawn, with the most to say for themselves. Writer Jack Elliot plays David, a neutral everyman who nevertheless ends up bearing the brunt of his cousins’ anger.

As traditional at family get-togethers, tensions soon surface and accusations fly. There’s all sorts of confusions and misunderstandings in the air – did Gran want burial or cremation, is it gran or is it nana (a debate I’ve had with my own cousins!) and can you bring a +1 to a funeral? There’s a whole gay/straight/bi conundrum, even a quandary about which version of The Power Of Love is appropriate at the funeral. Teddy has an interesting take on the Jennifer Rush version

In truth, it’s situation rather than story. There’s no great narrative trajectory. They arrive, they bicker, they leave. We learn little about the characters we haven’t figured out in their first five seconds on stage and even late, lamented Gran could be anything from dainty dear to cranky monster for all we know.

But the characters are a good bunch, and while they’re there, there’s top bantz, wind-ups, scraps and some corkingly funny lines. It’s an easy evening’s watch and there’s much to like about this young Edinburgh company.