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Edinburgh Fringe 2018

Everything Wrong With You Is Beautiful

Tina Sederholm / PBH's Free Fringe

Genre: New Writing, Poetry-Based Theatre, Solo Show, Spoken Word

Venue: Banshee - labyrinth, 29-35 Niddry Street, EH1 1LG


Low Down

A spoken word show combining autobiographical storytelling and poetry; about a journey, coming to terms with the past and finding beauty even in heartbreaking circumstances. Inspired by the performer’s recently published poetry collection of the same name.


This is the kind of show that the Fringe was once all about – an underground, over warm and slightly damp venue with lighting that leaves half the tiny stage in gloom – where a single performer takes you on a journey weaving memories, stories and poetry together to create a tapestry of her life.

Tina Sederholm’s most recent book, which provides the title of the show is the framework for the show. In return we learn how the book came to be, the origins and sources. By the end of the show we almost feel we have contributed to the writing of it.

Described as a ‘bittersweet, middle aged rite of passage’, the story is simple; a journey from a moment on a beach aged three through childhood, growing up, to a career that started with international three day eventing and has (currently) ended up as a performance poet. But the challenges are those faced by every woman. Coming to terms with who we are and accepting and celebrating ourselves. Encouraging is that, whilst she has found her way to that acceptance, it isn’t presented as a neat and tidy linear journey that she has competed triumphantly, a trophy won, but as something that continues with all its ups and downs.

Sederholm’s delivery and approach is intimate and informal, always addressing the audience directly and drawing us in with anecdotes about childhood contrasting with biting and lyrical insights in rhyme. There were many little murmurs of agreement around me as she shared some of what she saw as the blunders and failures in her life. She blends poetry and storytelling seamlessly making this a perfect show to take that someone in your life who is suspicious of performance poetry.

She uses every inch of the tiny stage although the somewhat inflexible lighting that left part of the stage unlit was unfortunate; she has little enough space to move in without additional handicaps.

A few select props augment the storytelling and are well thought out. The creation of a sandcastle provides a recurring motif that supports the progression of the story. The initial placing of the props sets the scene but felt a little slow and would benefit from being integrated with the start of the stories and poetry.

A must see for anyone who loves poetry and a perfect introduction for the less certain. Add the intimate setting of the underground space at the Banshee and you have an absorbing hour in the company of an accomplished storyteller and poet.