Dealing with grief is something that is very difficult because it’s so personal and particular to the individual. Deconstructing that same grief and turning it into a comedy show is not only more difficult still, but also incredibly brave. Sam Morrison is that brave individual who’s taken on this task. The end result is one of the most powerful and fearless hours of comedy you’ll see this Fringe.
One of the most powerful and fearless hours of comedy you’ll see this Fringe
As we begin, Morrison introduces the real heart of the show – his partner Jonathan, who tragically passed away from Covid during the pandemic. After a joke, which Morrison states is a “litmus test” to see how we react as an audience, the show really gets going and Morrison is in full control of the room. Grief, as Morrison states, is not linear. It seems the show is a bit like that too. At times, the material switches between anecdotes of a trip to Provincetown before the couple met, and the aftermath of Jonathan’s death, including a moving story where Morrison sits alone on a beach on their anniversary. It sounds like a risk to have such a non-linear set up, but there’s so much emotional weight behind these routines that the audience is engaged and willing to accompany Morrison on this journey through his grief.
There is an authenticity to Morrison’s performance that shines through. He has a seat with him on stage and every so often, he’ll sit down to speak about Jonathan. It’s touching and also creates a connection between Morrison and the audience that goes beyond what I’ve seen other performers do this year. He becomes a friend that we want to support, listen to and help in any way we can. Throughout, Morrison reminds us that he’s grateful that we came to the show because it means he gets to talk about Jonathan. He also reminds us that he's written this show as a means to help his grief process – he wants to be doing this. Whether he’s talking about it in the room or in one of his three gay widow support groups (he’s currently winning at all three), it’s all part of the journey.
The whole show is a real honour to sit through. Coming together to speak about trauma (or as Morrison defines it “unmonetised content”) is such a healthy experience. Not only is this an affecting show with a wonderfully satisfactory conclusion, it’s unapologetically queer, filled with love and hilariously funny.