Ukraine Fringe digital review: How I Met My Mother / Easy To Break Something

How I Met My Mother – RibbitRePublic Theatre (Canada), 60 min.

Promotional image for How I Met My Mother

She came from Bognor Regis in the UK and then took the ship to Canada in the 1960s in a green house (green furniture, green carpets) with a backyard porch.

Jonathan Paterson’s account of becoming the carer for his Alzheimer’s-afflicted mother becomes a likeable one-man show, directed by Vanesa Quesnelle.

As someone who has lost a parent to this disease, I was unsure about viewing this, but it is far from doom and gloom despite some moving moments around the mother’s deterioration.

Paterson is a performer who utilises his neuridiversuty to ptoduce a dynamic and charismatic character who recounts both childhood explorations and the odd perspective from the child effectively becoming the parent.

What set there is – a chair, a door (closed), a speaker, a plain wood background – allows the attention to be focused on what is being said. It is just one person’s account of his mother’s denentia – every case in different, and the loss of memory is truly cruel however it develops.

How I Met My Mother is an excellent piece of theatre packed with detail and delivered with love. I’m glad Paterson could find a way to communicate with a parent who was slowly shutting down. And I am glad this production exists.



Easy To Break Something – Polina Poliakova (Ukraine/Denmark), 35 min

Promotional image for Easy to Break Something

This is a piece about trauma, the kind that comes with family, and it is represented through movement, mime, suggestion, and a brutally honest script.

Poliakova makes an asset of vulnerability and of crisis, at first appearing with her face covered with a stocking, then with holes torn in a body piece, before venturing into the audience asking for touch and hugs.

Here, boundaries are blurred between documentary and fiction, but the terrors of war take place behind closed doors. Tyranny, both domestic and political, is the focus here.

Filmed at the Teaterhuset Copenhagen earlier this year, Easy to Break Something is deeply physical and highly psychological, as the stage space becomes a battlefield for the stories we sometimes hear muffled behind walls but rarely speak about.

A remarkable and bleak piece of theatre that connects through its openness and absurdity, Poliakova’s show may only run just over half an hour but leaves the audience shaken and surprised by their actions to one personal piece which proves universal.


Ukraine Fringe continues to 3 Sep with a live programme in Kyiv (details here) and an online programme on Scenesaver (details here) where you can view titles for free or with an optional donation. Register for free here.

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