When you go to a puppet show as an adult, you find yourself watching through the wondrous eyes of a child once more. The Three Deaths of Ebony Black strips away the audience’s years of age and cynicism and allows us to be innocent once more and confront our most confusing, terrifying, and beautiful fate — death. In the best possible way, The Three Deaths of Ebony Black gives a child-like insight on what it means to die, and through that learn how to live.
The show is inspired by a beautiful quote from Sum by David Eagleman: “There are three deaths: the first is when the body ceases to function. The second is when the body is consigned to the grave. The third is that moment, sometime in the future, when your name is spoken for the last time.”
Through the funeral of Ebony Black and a supporting cast of funeral home employees and her family, puppeteers Amberly Cull and Nick Pages-Oliver take puppetry to another level as they set your heart free to dip and soar and pound like a drum as they explore Eagleman’s ideas of death. Cull and Pages-Oliver were wonderfully expressive to the point where one often found that watching their faces was just as entertaining as watching the puppets. And the puppets, unassumingly simple as they were, were simply charming and adorable, infused with boundless personality.
Cull and Pages-Oliver deserve endless praise for their performance, but for the sake of brevity, I will just say one thing: both are extremely talented voice actors and vocalists. Cull, who wrote the original music for the show along with Robert Woods, shines especially in her solos when it feels like the world has ceased to exist and all you know are the puppets and her angelic voice. In short, this show is a Broadway-level production, but you know, with puppets.
Outrageously creative and funny, cleverly written, deep and profound – this is the show you come to the Fringe for, a masterpiece of a project created by extraordinarily talented folks who have poured their hearts and souls into creating art.
The Three Deaths of Ebony Black is on at Underbelly – Daisy
At 16:30 until 26 August
Buy tickets here.
Image: Mark Gambino