It’s Beautiful, Over There… Stephanie Greenwood, The Gatehouse Theatre, Camden Fringe

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Camden Fringe is coming to an end, and – to be honest – I am exhausted. Two Lasses have been extremely fortunate to review a large amount of high quality theatre over the past 4 weeks, and at this point in the schedule I find myself craving – similar to the food you crave after a period of hardcore festivities – simple and comforting theatre. And I got just that with this show.

A one woman show about death and bereavement, It’s Beautiful, Over There presents a tragic, holistic and personal account of Stephanie Greenwood’s experiences of death and coping with grief. A prop heavy production, the show enjoyed its space, but it did bother me that not every prop on stage was used. But this is pretty much where the critique ends, as I continued to be surprised that I was watching a show about death, but I didn’t feel depressed. Not a term I use lightly (I hasten to add), but the risk always stands when talking about such a heavily loaded topic. Stephanie maturely and sensitively set out her experiences, and elaborated creatively, yet remained concise. No tangents, which I liked.

As the show continues it becomes clearer that this show is drawn from a purpose, and the performers necessity to share these stories. Throughout, there are cuts to an audio clip of a different voice performing poetry. I was worried these were just there to aid in scene transitions, but when they were explained (clearly and simply) you felt a greater connection to the show than ever before. At this point, the themes extend to Mental Health awareness, not to the extent that your focus shifts, but just enough to evoke consideration. It all culminates in a touching and eloquent description of events, feelings and processes surrounding the death of a loved one. You deeply understand the personal nature of the narrative. It is an eloquent and artistic ode to the deceased.

So, should you see this show? Yes. It may come as artistic relief, it may come as a pleasant evenings entertainment. But if theatre for you is being taken on a journey, at the end of which you have an optimistic grin on your lips and a warm tingly sensation in your chest, then this is the show for you.

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