Fringe Review: Have you met my grief?

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By Jania Williams

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Jodie Atkinson is a grief recovery specialist, speaker, author and entertainer. Her award winning cabaret show, ‘Have you met my grief?’ evolved out of her debut book of the same name and premiered at the 2023 Adelaide Cabaret Festival.

I arrive to find only a few remaining seats at the back of the room and settle in just in time for the show to begin. On stage there is a woman seated at a keyboard who will provide the music element to Jodie’s story telling. Jodie arrives on stage and launches straight into a song then introduces herself, shares some background and then discusses loss and grief. Over the course of sixty minutes the story of her very personal, tragic and sudden loss unfolds with the help of tunes by Alanis Morisette, The Cure and Coldplay. I’m soon wiping tears away, along with most of the audience. In that moment I sense a shared sorrow that feels somehow comforting and beautiful – a connection I guess.

Jodie reminds us that loss comes in many forms – the loss of a loved one, a pet, a job, youth, health, a lifestyle, or a way of being. She proceeds to share her encounter with grief, describing it as a stranger who moved in abruptly, unexpectedly, an uninvited guest. She describes her personal challenges navigating life with this erratic, controlling intruder. She reflects on the turbulent and unpredictable nature of grief, how it can manifest in unexpected ways – anger, anxiety and panic attacks and at unexpected times.

She describes how surrender and acceptance play a role in the grieving journey. She describes the toolkit she assembled to assist her in navigating awkward situations, like interactions with well-meaning people who say unhelpful things following loss. Finally, she reminds us that following loss, there is no right way to behave. No time frame. Your grief is yours and yours alone, your unique experience.

Grief is one of those topics we tend to avoid and yet it is something we are all guaranteed to experience throughout life. We need to talk about grief more and this show is sure to generate those conversations.

Jodie’s talent as a performer together with her raw honesty and openness make this an entertaining, enlightening and inspiring show.

4 Stars

To book tickets to this show, go here.

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