Edinburgh Fringe 2015
“When the kids grow up, and everything goes… tits down. From pregnancy to puberty, monogamy to monotony, love to loss, sleepovers to leg-overs, door-slamming teens to… is that chin hair?? TV’s Liz Fraser performs a hilarious and no-holds barred colonoscopy on family Midlife from ABC to GCSE, and asks… what the heck just happened??”
Liz Fraser is 40 years old. She has been married for 19 years and has three children, 17, 15, and 12 years old. Now what? “Who am I now,” she asks. “If you take my children away from me, I am just an 18 year old slob. My children became my career for ten years. All my energy and my drive went into them. When you have children, they bind you and your husband together and they form a wedge between you.”
And she isn’t the only one who is addressing the emptiness, the uncertainty and loss of identity that hits women when they begin their fifth decade. “It’s a time of life no one talks about. I call them the limbo years,” she said. “You are no longer wanted but you can’t leave.”
Is the conflict caused by expectations society creates for us? “We struggle so much with the ‘have it all’ thing,” she says. “’Have it all’ never happened to me. It was never a goal. I never bought into it. Life is about decisions and compromise.”
And that is the essence of her show, Life Shambles. She talks about what parenting does to you and how it makes you feel about yourself. “I am interested in how we live and how we raise our offspring,” she says. “My job as a mother is to teach my children to cope. Life is, after all, how you turn shit into good.”
This is an interactive show, combining music, poetry and commentary and exchange of ideas about what parenting is and where you go when the job is done. The quality of the show depends on the audience since it is their participation that triggers the discussion and commentary on stage. Liz Fraser is a charming presenter, frank and honest in expressing her opinions and encouraging others to say what they really think about the taboo topic of women and the ennui that mid-life brings. She talks about the investment you make in your children to launch them into adulthood. “My children became my career,” says Fraser.
But the question posed in this thought-provoking show, is ,”When you have done your job, then what? Who do you become once the children leave the nest? And is the job o f parenting ever really finished? The audience leaves Life Shambles still thinking, still wondering at the ideas Fraser puts forth. And that after all is what a good show is about.