Assembly George Square – The Blue Room
The eulogy that Daniel Hoffmann-Gill gave his father was brilliant, deserving of a bigger crowd. These aren’t my words but the premise of The Great Almighty Gill. Our writer and performer, Hoffmann-Gill, gave his father’s eulogy in 2015 and he has returned to the Edinburgh Fringe to give it a second airing.
This play is not just a funeral. Although it does begin with the (brilliant of course) eulogy, the lectern quickly snaps open into a bar. Gone is the son, replaced instead by his father, David. Hoffmann-Gill is a charming actor who shines bright in his comic role as his dad, delivering a tight 20 minute stand-up routine that would give a lot of comedians at this festival a run for their money.
David is a geezer, a gangster and a model diabetic. He’s also strong headed and quite a scary man. We hear all about his life dodging the law and the difficult relationships formed along the way. We’re charmed and endeared to him, but we wouldn’t want to be in his bad books. Daniel and David had a difficult relationship, he was give the name ‘Hoffman’, so if David had to disappear, so could the latter part of his son’s name.
Daniel does a model job of lulling us into a false sense of security, until all of a sudden we realise we’re at the point of his story where David has developed dementia. The tone’s light but the jokes have stopped. There’s a kind love in Daniel’s delivery which leaves us choked.
David is present throughout the show as a badge on his son’s lapel, one of the many touching nods to his father’s presence. Some of the trickier and more emotional scenes in this show are broken up by interludes from Elvis and Elton John which give the audience an opportunity to dry our eyes. Audiences are asked to dedicate the performance to someone we have lost. This is a fitting tribute to a complicated but affectionate man, well played by his son.
Written by: Daniel Hoffmann-Gill
Produced by: New Perspectives
The Great Almighty Gill plays at EdFringe 2022 until 29 August. Further information and bookings here.