My wonderful Edfringe, 2019
I’ve got two shows left to perform of my autobiographical theatre show, ‘My Mother’s Shoes’, on at the Laughing Horse’s Freefringe Festival this August. It’s been a massive month because I have been doing a very emotional show more or less every day. Around this time last year, I decided I wanted to take a show to the Fringe this August. I knew I wanted to write something something from my own life. As my mum is not alive anymore, I thought I’d write a show about her life, my life and our relationship, because it was all so difficult.
Tears… or laughter?
With my experience of doing stand-up in the late 90s, I’m much more used to making people laugh rather than cry. However, this show has been definitely one where I’ve seen people at every show crying because the content has touched their own lives – both women and men. So many people have said how moving and beautiful they have found ‘My Mother’s Shoes’.
I’m delighted because even though ‘My Mother’s Shoes’ has been a true and rounded account of me and my mum’s relationship, one this is clear – that I really loved my mum.
Here is a sample of the audience reviews of ‘My Mother’s Shoes’ taken from Edfringe.com
…Karola’s story of her mother’s life and their relationship is the best thing I’ve seen at the Fringe this year. I am planning to go again and take others with me. I would thoroughly recommend this story to anyone who wants to hear a warm, funny, authentic account of the ordeals, struggles and joys of an immigrant family and their integration into northern British life. Totally engaging!!
…Beautifully written, beautifully performed. This isn’t ”entertainment”; it’s food for the soul. It’s moving, gripping, true; a piece of art. The performer gives all of herself, to tell a story that’s deeply moving, at times painful, at times humorous, but ultimately redemptive.
Go and see it!
…ONE NOT TO BE MISSED. This is a poignant and moving story told by a s very articulate and engaging performer. We were thoroughly captivated by this show.
…#MyMothersShoes is a fabulous show. Thought provoking, it made me laugh and (almost) made me cry. What more can you ask?
…From Trending.UK: Of the nine shows I’ve seen at the Fringe, Karola Gajda’s ‘My Mother’s Shoes’ has been the best.
…This show is a must see. Karola is a creative and inspirational artist who tells the story of her Mother’s life – a Polish lady taken from her homeland at the age of three by the Russians to a Siberian gulag during the war. The story is utterly gripping, told with breathtaking honesty, using visual and sound effects to create an atmosphere which makes you feel you are right there at that moment. Karola cleverly draws us in, recreating and bringing to life a journey from unimaginable sadness through faith and love to forgiveness and finally peace. It explores the relationships we all have with our parents and the legacy and impact they have on our lives. Karola is engaging and adds humour to this serious subject throughout, which is cleverly done. It would be easy to miss this talented lady amongst the many bigger and more popular shows perhaps – but Karola’s show is definitely worth seeing and highly recommended.
Edfringereview: Her (Karola’s) re-enactment of her mother was incredibly real and captivating, especially because it was so personal…It was an incredibly poignant piece which touched upon immigration, disability, mother-daughter relationships and how as a daughter your life, despite how hard, has to become your own….It was a personal fairy tale intertwined with reality.
Edfringereview2: Older female performers don’t get much airtime at the Fringe, let alone to discuss female issues, so this piece felt remarkably refreshing. She is a confident, talented and endearing storyteller, narrating a story which is very close to her heart. A charming, gentle production as a whole which seems to represent everything good about Free Fringe; it gives a creative platform for a little-heard voice to discuss an original and important topic with grace, sensitivity and wit.
The List: For anyone with a feel for Poland, there’s plenty of reasons to recommend My Mother’s Shoes; for sincerity, warmth and relevance, this small but carefully formed free show is far better value than many of the fringe’s pricier enterprises.
Perhaps most memorable was a 90 year old Polish lady who came to see the show with her adult son. She had been sitting right in front of me and I’d been thinking throughout the whole performance, I wonder what she’s thinking – her face hardly moved! After the show she came out and came up to me and said, ‘So beautifully handled – well done”.