Playing one night only as part of Melbourne Fringe, My Mum Died and I Wanna Sing About It is a "silly, charming and self-indulgent shit-show that was cheaper to write than going to therapy". We chat to writer, performer and co-director Jack Francis West this week on our Backstage Blog.
First and foremost, I believe that comedy earns tragedy.
That is the central concept at the heart of this show. Because it is a tragic story; it is a real life chronological recount of losing my Mum to liver cancer when I was 19 years old. An experience that until now, was totally private.
In the years following her death, I found myself resenting this natural metamorphosis that a person goes through when they die. That in death she was condemned to become something silent and faceless - a photograph, or an uncomfortable joke. She became something people thought I didn’t want to talk about. Well, I’m here to assure you that I don’t just want to talk about it I want to SING about it!
There is no experience more universal than death. So why don’t we talk about it? This show breaks this cultural convention and takes the audience along for the ride, through the experiences and realisations surrounding my Mum’s death, in all of its candid chaos. This show is silly. It really is a comedy first with a bit of tragedy snuck in. I believe it is this delicate balance (and sometimes emotional whiplash) that disarms an audience and makes them comfortable enough to experience catharsis together in a safe space, cushioned by comedy, where we can unpack the nuances of grief together - laugh at it, cry at it and leave nothing left unsaid.
We first mounted this show for a short development season in Sydney in the Summer of 2021. The reception we got from audiences was a revelation. The personal introspection and the collective catharsis created by the show made us realise that we had to keep doing it. We knew we had something important and transformative for audiences. After a successful remount for Sydney Fringe Festival in September of this year, we are so excited to bring it down to Melbourne Fringe Festival at Theatre Works on Saturday the 15th of October.
We can’t wait to present this unabashedly queer, silly and beautiful show that surrounds the most universal experience there possibly is; death. Because we don’t talk about it enough and secretly, everybody wants to.