EFR - Reviews of 'Til Debt Us Do Part

'Til Debt Us Do Part

Sat 6th – Sun 28th August 2016

reviews

Christopher Archibald

at 12:30 on 20th Aug 2016

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Tina Sederholm is one of the most likeable performers I have seen at the fringe this year. A captivating storyteller, she exudes warmth. ‘Till Debt Us Do Part’ combines an economics lesson, stand-up comedy, and poetry, to take a touching and entertaining look at how consumerism and credit culture govern our lives in the twenty-first century.

In just an hour, Sederholm uses multiple methods for telling her story. She introduces us to absurd caricatures, cleverly using simple props, and invites the audience to give their own thoughts (“that wasn’t a rhetorical question”). Sederholm’s poetry is subtle, and at moments even beautiful. Rhyme is used sparingly and effectively, but it’s her imagery that really glitters. One description of a coffee-shop with its “rusted gold lights against mudded sky” is surprisingly brilliant, while Sederholm’s lip-smacking rendering of the cake counter is at once deliciously tempting and poignant, as she realises that excessive spending on confectionary only serves to cover up frustration and sadness.

Sederholm is a poet more than a comedian, but some well thought-out sequences are side-splittingly funny. The shop assistant trying to persuade Tina to listen to her "bad voice" and buy BOTH dresses is expertly characterised and hilarious in its familiarity. Though some jokes do not quite hit the mark and the show is a little dowdy overall, somehow Sederholm’s exuberant personality and exquisite storytelling redeem all minor faults. If not laugh-out-loud funny, Sederholm is quietly insightful. Comparisons with the dinosaurs hit home the extent of the UK’s debt, while her list of "wacky beliefs about money" reveal much about the intersection of gender and economics.

Towards the end of the show, having won her audience’s trust, Sederholm’s story becomes incredibly moving. Difficult themes are dealt with sensitively, and the potential doom and gloom of a show about debt is avoided by the assertion of more lasting human "transactions" which can never be repaid: simple acts of kindness from strangers. Her story manages to be about so much more than debt, and its effect on the audience is palpably greater than that created by an economics lesson.

For a free Fringe show, this is more than worth your time. Funny, insightful, tender, Sederholm exceeds expectations and offers an hour of genius storytelling.

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Olivia Cormack

at 15:05 on 21st Aug 2016

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Initially apprehensive about this performance, and expecting 45 minutes of anxiety inducing finance talk, I was pleasantly surprised to find myself laughing along to the dry wit of Tina Sederholm. An educational and humorous look into the cause and necessity of debt, Sederholm will make you question the true value of money.

Sederholm’s approach to financial education combines hard facts with role play, music and poetry. Skilled at all three, she is not afraid to poke fun at herself, donning a scholar’s cap for the short history lessons dotted throughout the performance. Her songs are funny and a little racy, and her poetry shows that there can be beauty in practicality.

A thought-provoking and illuminating examination of money and the ways in which we give it power, ''Til Debt Do Us Part’ will make you question your assumptions about money, life, and happiness. Advocating finding the joy in earning rather than the anxiety in frugality Sederholm’s one-woman show is surprisingly uplifting. A must-see for anyone who does not quite understand what the national debt is, how we got into it, or what we can do to get out of it, You will find out all this and more, and you will learn it through poetry – basically an economics class for literature students.

As a Free Fringe show the staging is obviously quite minimal and Sederholm’s husband is clearly visible in the corner with his laptop and soundboard. But really this does not matter, this is not a show to see for the staging and special effects, it’s a show that is designed to make you think. A show that will tell you, with kindness but also brutal honesty that unless you are a Rockerfeller if you buy a Starbucks everyday as a pick-me-up, you are not only reliant on treats for a source of happiness, but you are also going to get into debt very quickly. Sederholm’s no-nonsense mathematics and humorous history will leave you in no doubt that debt is as much a part of our economy as profit, and to think that an escape from debt would be to achieve happiness is to look for that happiness in all the wrong places.

Sederholm calls not for an attempt to escape debt, nor does she encourage her audience to budget or to avoid spending to the point of inertia. What she does is encourage her audience to view debt and money differently, yes as things which make the world go around, but also as sources of poetic inspiration. Sederholm disconnects money and debt, pointing out the existence of what she calls ‘good debt’, the debt you feel towards a stranger who comforts you when you are sad, a debt that should never be repaid, because it triggers memories of kindness.

Ultimately an attempt to find humour and poetry in a topic that causes most people to break out in a cold sweat Sederholm tells us that there is more to life than money, and more to debt than anxiety. ‘’Til Debt Do Us Part’ encourages us to question our priorities and to avoid looking for happiness in the wrong places.

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