Death is only a tragedy for those who remain. Loss can eat at you, turn you crazy, or make you create a near-500 slide presentation.
Eight of Patrick Susmilch’s friends have died in the last 10 years, and he has done what he can to turn that into a funny, heartwarming and surprisingly tender show that commemorates his friends, questions mortality and the digital footprint we leave behind.
I thought, as a jaded veteran Fringe reviewer, I was now emotionally invulnerable, but Patrick’s show totally cut through. I’m not ashamed to admit that I cried during the show, and when I came out. It’s a tough watch, and a poignant examination of what you leave behind when you die.
Gallows humour can only get you so far with such dark subject matter, and although Patrick had a wonderfully awkward energy and off-kilter jokes that I – if not the whole audience – found funny, there is no escaping the reality that we’re peeking in on private correspondence between friends; messages the authors never knew would be their last. And that’s a hard watch.
It felt as if the trauma was still raw for Patrick, who struggled at points to get his words out, and quickly abandoned the microphone which was giving him trouble. The show was none-the-worse for it however, and only served to further endear the comedian.
It’s hard to recommend this show as a comedy. I found the jokes funny, but the audience at large were less sure, perhaps still grappling with the underlying subject matter. But, I think that’s ok. This is a show to see because of its underlying message. Nothing is permanent. All we have is the here and now. Message your friends, reach out to loved ones, send that silly text – it might make it into a tear-jerking Edinburgh Fringe show one day.
Read our interview with Patrick Susmilch here.
For tickets and more information, visit edfringe.com