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Good Grief - Sydney Fringe Festival (NSW)

Written and performed by Georgina Pender, directed by Lauren Bennett.

Reviewed by Natania McLeod

Emerging Artists Sharehouse, Erskineville

Season 26 September – 30 September 2023 (NSW)


- A very special show that deals with a difficult subject with humour and tact, but also realness -

The tragicomic act opens with a digital installation of mouths speaking, repeating similar sentiments over and over, judging the decision of a child to stay with her father over her mother when they separate. We are then transported to the present day of the play, where a young woman, Georgina Pender, struggles to close her overstuffed bag at an airport, an act all those who travel frequently, will be well familiar with. Pender then receives the call that her mother has passed. The subsequent show deftly navigates us through space and time, analysing and grieving the past of an alcoholic mother, all the while working out how to move forward.

Georgias Wilkinson’s choices in the use of audio visual provide further intensity to emotions conveyed throughout the story. A steel frame with hanging papers that also serve as the projector screen for digital images, gives the audience an opportunity to experience through various formats Pender sorting through her mother’s house for the will and other various memories.

Lauren Bennet, acting as director, has shown care in keeping a clean through line in this work of many facets. Great use is made the small stage it is acted on. It felt like a much larger space than it is with Oliver Close’s music bringing touching moments throughout the show.

Pender’s talent really shows in this one-woman performance covering multiple characters and accents from an American air hostess to a Ukrainian grandmother.

This was a very special show that dealt with a difficult subject with humour and tact but also realness. As stated in its promotion, it is about ‘grieving a parent who isn’t yet dead’. The debate is that it may not be the right show for someone in similar circumstances, depending on sensitivities. At the same time, it could be the medicine needed for those with a similar cross to bear. This show asks its audience to look inside themselves at their own feelings on the subject, on the show, directly at the end; to write anything they will, in diaries provided to the viewers. This show is full of talent and one to watch out for. Great for those who enjoy tragedy merged with comedy, a multi-disciplinary approach to arts and a must for one-woman show enthusiasts.


Show details

26 - 30 Sep | 45 minutes

Venue 1: Emerging Artist Sharehouse - The Boom Boom Room

Performance notes

Sydney Premiere

Content warnings: Sudden Loud Noises, Content Related to Mental Health/Ill-health, Depictions of Violence

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