It’s becoming an increasing trend in today’s society that technology is doing more and more of the work that people used to do. “Great,” some would say, “this is progress”. Or at least it would be if only the new gadgets and systems would work in the way that they’re meant to. And this is where the beautiful satire of Death Inc. comes in. Thanks to budget cuts in the department Hades is sending the Grim Reaper off for an early retirement and replacing him with a new, more efficient, automated messaging system. Sound familiar?

Death Inc. is an amateur production from Bath University Student Theatre Society and is the first show written and directed by second year Andrew Massey. He and his cast of faces from the afterlife takes the audience through a light-hearted exploration of why technology isn’t all it’s cracked up to be.

On the way we meet familiar ancient beings such as Sisyphus, Minos and Rhadamanthys, as well as some less well-known demons (estate agents…I always knew there was something about them), but perhaps not the well-known characters as you’d first think of them. Each enthusiastic performer gave their role a new and distinct voice with unique quirks; updating them from Ancient Greek myths to more vivacious present day personalities. It’s interesting how easily Hades translates into a self-absorbed CEO…

This comedy had pace and plenty of puns and jokes to keep the audience laughing. The quality of the piece was particularly remarkable when you think that all of those taking part both on and off stage are juggling working on challenging degrees with making their theatre productions.

As this is a fresh new work it had plenty of current cultural references; computer viruses, mute buttons, the requirement that the Grim Reaper should own a scythe… That was one of the really lovely things about Death Inc. It was like one big in-joke between those on stage and those watching and it’s that kind of connection that makes Fringe events special.

BUST are sure to be back soon with a new production so keep an eye on their website for details of their upcoming shows:

Review by Jenni Waugh