Good grief! Making light of a dark subject
Sarah Harpur in Dead Dad’s Club, Tuesday 9 May, Q Cellar
By Natalie Crane
Sarah Harpur is a spectacular storyteller. She plays an over-enthusiastic salesperson presenting a PowerPoint, but it’s not about toothpaste sales, it’s about ummmmmm, dead dads.
We are talked through the five stages of grief drawing from her own experience with loss at the age of 15. “Grief is a messy business, but it’s easier if we do it together”…
This show is the definition of black comedy (as opposed to blue comedy which focuses more on crude topics such as nudity and bodily fluids). You’ll experience both laughter and discomfort, mostly at the same time.
She entertains us with stories about growing up in small town New Zealand. Her childhood pets had the names of 90s supermodels, like Rachel Hunter the lamb, Naomi Campbell the chicken, and she recounts once eating Elle MacPherson for dinner. Mmmmm nice legs!
It suddenly gets a lot darker when we are cheerfully told about the drink driving and getting left in the car parked outside the TAB. Then comes the big fireworks moment, she drops the ‘S’ word. More shocking and less spoken than the ‘C’ word.
Sarah pulls off some great character acting and arrives on stage as a celebrity guest…a hooded grim reaper! She invites an audience member on to the stage for some roleplay…What would her Dad think of hipster Wellington? He’d surely throw the craft beer on the floor and demand a Lion Red!
The show is also sprinkled with songs on the guitar. She’s no Adele but the songs carry well with her infectious smile and witty lyrics. You can get a taste of Harpur’s bizarre world of comedy songs here.
In our day and age Facebook pages have become living memorials to the deceased. So Sarah decides to create a posthumous Facebook profile for her dad…Cousins react in horror when her dad crassly comments on posts, but her sisters find it strangely comforting.
Sarah is no doubt a talented comedian and presents a very brave show about a difficult topic. Like a sort of twisted clown doctor, she provides comic relief for grief!
Be sure to also check out Sarah Harpur’s viral Kate Bush Da Vinci code parody…it’ll brighten up your day.