DramaMayfestReviewSouth West

MAYFEST: Complicated Grief – Tobacco Factory Theatres, Bristol

Writer: David Woods & John Haynes

Director: David Woods & John Haynes

Reviewer: Ivana Galapcheva

The award-winning duo Ridiculusmus conclude their mental health trilogy with Complicated Grief, a show about the depths of life before it expires. The series starts with The Eradication of Schizophrenia in Western Lapland and Give Me Your Love, as part of Mayfest 2018.

Informed by conversations about the EU referendum, the latest research into complicated grief disorder and interviews with the recently bereaved, the Ridiculusmus duo David Woods and Jon Haynes, experiment with these themes through dressing up, positivity, and the occasional fart in the corner. 

Complicated Grief is slaptick comedy at its best, where performance capabilities get put to the test, be it trying to resemble an old person’s struggle to get to a chair, or trying to resemble a rewinding video at another.

What happens when someone loses their beloved? Sadness and grief, of course, but how does this grief actually look in everyday life? Do friends and family help when they send their condolences and best wishes, or is every word exposing the wound? Is calling the phone company to cancel our subscription a straightforward thing to do? How debilitating is grief? Is there a way out or is it all downhill from there?

These are the complex questions raised by the show, and like with the best of theatre, Complicated Grief does not offer prescriptive answers. Rather, it poses these questions with humour and leaves the audience to ponder the rest. This is when transformation – in the mindset, in the belief system – should happen, and this is the power of the arts.

Complicated Grief continues today, Saturday, 19 May and is preceded by a panel discussion at the Tobacco Factory Theatres reflecting on the provocations of Ridiculusmus’s three plays on contemporary health issues and approaches, with representatives from the health and pharmaceutical sector.

Runs until 19 May 2018 | Image: Contributed

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The Yorkshire & North East team is under the editorship of Mark Clegg. The Reviews Hub was set up in 2007. Our mission is to provide the most in-depth, nationwide arts coverage online.

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