Til Debt Us Do Part

For many, the Edinburgh Fringe is a joyous escape from reality. While pouring away money on overpriced pints, or shelling out a small fortune on accommodation, most people try to keep their fiscal worries out of mind.

Sederholm is capable of resonant, emotionally charged writing.

But not Tina Sederholm, an author and poet who’s determined to get to grips with filthy lucre. Her new show riffs on a quote from Robert Graves: “there’s no money in poetry, but there’s no poetry in money either.” Sederholm attempts to prove Graves wrong, but doesn’t quite pull it off.

Til Debt Do Us Part falls awkwardly between genres. Anyone hoping for a funny, informative insight into economics (after the manner of Radio 4’s Simon Evans Goes to Market) will leave not much the wiser. Sederholm adopts the character of a fusty male professor for the show’s “educational” sections, but these comic vignettes offer few laughs and little information. Meanwhile, those looking for poetry will find the show light on verse; Sederholm spends more time talking about her struggle to make a living as a poet than sharing her poems.

As a piece of autobiographical story-telling, the show’s first half is hampered by Sederholm’s performance style. Her 15 years in teaching have left their mark on her delivery; whether sharing the details of her life or explaining her thoughts on debt, she tends to oversimplify, speaking down to the audience in a way that distances her from them.

In her poems, this distance disappears (particularly in a piece about her compulsive trips to Starbucks), but elsewhere her spell-it-all-out approach may leave you feeling more like a pupil than a confidante: “Could it be that making myself happy in the short term was making me unhappy in the long term?” she asks, before adding, in case we haven’t quite got it: “Yes, it could.”

The last fifteen minutes of the show, however, change everything. In an intimate anecdote about a holiday with her husband, Sederholm finally opens up, speaking honestly and engagingly with her audience. The moving, powerful account of a miscarriage which then follows culminates in the most powerful poem of the show, set in a hospital ward after her “evacuation” surgery. It’s in a different league to everything that went before it, and shows that Sederholm is capable of resonant, emotionally charged writing. It’s just a shame it takes so long to get there.

Reviews by Tristram Fane Saunders

Pilgrim

A Lizard Goes a Long Way

★★★★
Pleasance Dome

Marcel Lucont's Whine List

★★★★
Banshee Labyrinth

Til Debt Us Do Part

★★★
Pilgrim

The C/D Borderline

★★★★
Voodoo Rooms

Alexis Dubus Verses The World

★★★

Since you’re here…

… we have a small favour to ask. We don't want your money to support a hack's bar bill at Abattoir, but if you have a pound or two spare, we really encourage you to support a good cause. If this review has either helped you discover a gem or avoid a turkey, consider doing some good that will really make a difference.

You can donate to the charity of your choice, but if you're looking for inspiration, there are three charities we really like.

Mama Biashara
Kate Copstick’s charity, Mama Biashara, works with the poorest and most marginalised people in Kenya. They give grants to set up small, sustainable businesses that bring financial independence and security. That five quid you spend on a large glass of House White? They can save someone’s life with that. And the money for a pair of Air Jordans? Will take four women and their fifteen children away from a man who is raping them and into a new life with a moneymaking business for Mum and happiness for the kids.
Donate to Mama Biashara now

Theatre MAD
The Make A Difference Trust fights HIV & AIDS one stage at a time. Their UK and International grant-making strategy is based on five criteria that raise awareness, educate, and provide care and support for the most vulnerable in society. A host of fundraising events, including Bucket Collections, Late Night Cabarets, West End Eurovision, West End Bares and A West End Christmas continue to raise funds for projects both in the UK and Sub-Saharan Africa.
Donate to Theatre MAD now

Acting For Others
Acting for Others provides financial and emotional support to all theatre workers in times of need through the 14 member charities. During the COVID-19 crisis Acting for Others have raised over £1.7m to support theatre workers affected by the pandemic.
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Performances

Location

The Blurb

Is money a fiction? What’s the difference between the notes in your pocket and the ones from a Monopoly board? A humorous exploration of debt through poetry, personal stories and actual research, as award-winning poet Tina Sederholm gets real about money. Tina Sederholm has received five-star reviews at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe for her two previous shows, and won the Oxford Hammer and Tongue Slam Championship twice. ‘A truly captivating performance’ ***** (EdFringeReview.com). ‘Superbly realised story and an eminently relatable piece of theatre’ **** (SabotageReviews.com).

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