Chris Singleton’s show (directed by Tom Wright) was in the in-person strand at the Edinburgh Festival Fringe , but I am reviewing the show from a recording supplied to me.
How To Be A Better Human is – well – set in the realm of grief. Singleton lost both dad and wife in the space of a few months: dad to the final reckoning; wife to the bitterness of divorce.
Such life-changing events often have to be approached with humour and a light touch. In celebrating the end of life or facing the end of a relationship, we are set to cope with a smile and with happy memories.
I lost my dad last year. There were tears, there were regrets, but there has been a lot of laughter in reaching in to those moments which have become ingrained within us.
My first thought when looking in the mirror after his death was coming to terns with his eyes, my eyes, glancing back. We are who makes us, whether we want to be or not.
So Singleton’s moments of quiet loss resonate, as does the dry wit in which he comes to terms with losing a key member of the family. An anecdote from the airport is amusing enough as we can imagine being there.
The divorce aspect isn’t really explored until the final third of the show: it’s the upbeat bit of How To Be A Better Human where the Singleton story gets back on track.
This is a very funny show, illuminated by a set of slides of images, cartoons, and captions. Now and again they display a creative force where words might be hard to get out – after all, this family find it hard to say “I love you”.
In How To Be A Better Human Singleton uses his own personal trauma to create a show which will resonate with many. I thought I might find it triggering, but instead bought into the positivity and proactivity in the room.