Edinburgh International Festival Theatre

When You Walk Over My Grave

Church Hill Theatre

Neil Cooper

Four stars

Death becomes Sergio Blanco, the Franco-Uruguayan playwright who puts himself as the main character of his forensic and surprisingly fun dissection of the desire to shuffle of this mortal coil on one’s own terms. The audience aren’t greeted with anything remotely funereal, but with the cast wielding electric guitars and regaling them with an indie rock song while lined up on stools like some weekend bar band. Behind them are projections of newspaper style death notices that double up as company biographies.

This makes for a lively curtain raiser to Blanco’s latest piece of what he calls auto-fiction, a kind of fantasy autobiography in which he gives full vent to his assorted obsessions. In this case his opus moves between London and Geneva, as Sergio Blanco the character explores assisted suicide and necrophilia, winding up in the room where Mary Shelley wrote Frankenstein – another life and death yarn – before taking a trip six feet under.

Allegedly written in bull’s blood, and here performed in Spanish with English surtitles, the end result is a perversely life affirming piece of meta-theatrical fun. The hidden depths beyond see Blanco conduct a fantasy wish fulfilment autopsy of his own psychological corpse.

With the real Blanco live and presumably kicking, his possibly unreliable narrative is performed by Sebastiane Serantes, Gustavo Saffores and Felipe Ipar. They play Blanco, the mysterious Dr Godwin, and the young resident in a psychiatric hospital who Blanco seeks out to join him for an all too intimate afterlife experience.

Co-produced by Festival Internacional de Artes Escenicas de Uruguay and Festival Internacional de Buenos Aires, Blanco’s wilfully self-referential fancy is delivered by the onstage trio with a big-hearted sense of joie de vivre. This is heightened even more by Francesca Crossa’s live video projections, Miguel Grompone’s visual design, and Fernando Castro’s sound design. By the end, the future Blanco maps out for his dead body is a form of immortality he may yet survive. What a way to end it all, indeed.

Until August 28