Edinburgh Festival: Expiration Date (3 stars)

Who wants to live forever? Not Mildred, a woman approaching her 150th birthday in the year 2113; a place where everyone is kept alive by “enhancements” or can swap their bodies for a virtual existence inside “People Pods”.

Her husband Arthur has already been digitalised, as have all her friends. We see them on screens. It’s a bit like Dennis Potter’s Cold Lazarus, a bit like Charlie Brooker’s Black Mirror series. And, while suicide might seem like the obvious escape, Mildred’s son Albert is working on something that even takes away that option.

While it’s a familiar kind of dystopian set-up, performed in the contrastingly period setting of a red-carpeted, wood-panelled room at The Merchants’ Hall, it’s one that has an engaging, thought-provoking and succinct story well-delivered by the cast – both those on stage and those performing via screens.

Is giving up your body a worthwhile sacrifice for immortality? What would life be like without it? Through rattling dialogue, a compelling family relationship and some nicely observed comedy, writer Rose-Marie Brandwein asks us all to consider these questions.

At a time when we’re getting older and medical advancements are ever-improving, it’s a pertinent piece.

Written for The Scotsman

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