A song of grief and loss

Hannah Graham


Birmingham Rep Door


HANNAH Graham is a talented writer and performer who with a beautiful sensitivity and personal recollection, tells us about her journey through grief.

Her story is astonishingly personal, but yet the audience are connected on a universal level. Collidoscope revolves around the theme of loss, a raw emotions of which most, if not all the audience must have felt before.

She sets out to highlight the inner struggles that come with the overwhelming feelings of losing one close to you. Collidoscope is beautiful, poignant and something that everyone can connect to.

Graham shows us what it was like for her to deal with grief over a seven year period. She explains to us rather strikingly the decisions and journey’s we pursue as grief takes its hold.

In Graham’s case, she tells us about her life over seven years and the imprints this left in her life. Grief is unique to everybody and no two experiences are the same. In Collidioscope, Graham lets us see how she worked with her own grief.

With the atmosphere of the scenes being set by sounds being played by musician Simon Smith, Graham shows us how when finding it hard to release, she takes solace in the 1930’s actress Madaline Carol.

Throughout her journey, Madeline Carol becomes part of Graham’s skin. With Smith providing the low beat sounds on a double bass, Graham gives her own renditions of Carol’s songs which are so famously seen in Madeline Carol’s 1930’s and 1940’s films.

Graham is a fantastic performer and writer. As her two superb talents come together, we are exposed to the lyrical and poetic within a tale that takes us from the corner of a Wolverhampton pub to a summer camp in West Virginia and back to a London student club all in ninety brilliant minutes.

Graham not only tells her story, but gives us some wonderfully touching explanations of her coping strategies of dealing with death. Throughout the play, we are exposed to flashbacks and scenes from her past.

In her words there is a lyricality that alludes to the fantasy of something that is no longer there. Her poetic style to the past allows her experiences to be forever remembered in poetry. There is also an element of the spoken word which of course gives light to the deepest emotions and feelings. It is within this poetry that the power of personal loss is felt.

Graham then comes back to the present world by delivering monologues to a spotlit microphone, addressing the audience about why a particular event happened and more importantly, what happened as a result. 

Collidoscope is a story coated with grief and beautifully told. Graham courteously invites us into her life that is so true and personal, that the audience cannot help but be touched by her open spirit. In a great celebration of art, Graham expresses a universal theme in her beautifully unique way. Artist Graham and Director Natasha Pryce worked fantastically well together to let the audience see a profound vision with a touching outcome.

Elizabeth Halpin



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