Dark comedy explores death, dying and cancer

Jackson's Lane Theatre, 269A Archway Road, Highgate
Event has ended
This event ended on Friday 16th of March 2018


Venue Information

Jacksons Lane
269a Archway Road , N6 5AA

Nearest Stations

Highgate 0.05 miles



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A YOUNG woman who lost her partner to cancer is staging a “dark comedy” exploring death and grief in Highgate to remember him.

Dying to Please You, at Jackson’s Lane Theatre on March 15-16, is inspired by Tess Cartwright’s experience of losing boyfriend Vid Warren to cancer.

The artistic duo were “head-over-heels in love for over four years” when he was diagnosed with brain cancer aged 23.

He passed away 20 months later in 2015, but they remained as positive as possible, in part thanks to leading cancer support charity Penny Brohn UK.

Tess, 33, of Bristol, said: “Vid was an incredible human being and we were a team.

“As we bounced between denial, hope and acceptance, we used ‘tumour humour’ to diffuse the pain.

“Our determination to stay present and thrive with cancer was largely due to the charity’s positivity and techniques it taught.

“We lived from the heart and laughed in the face of death, which allowed us to stay in the present and enjoy the life he had left.”

In Vid’s honour, Tess and her company, Modest Geniuses (friends Tristan Green and Sidney Robb), have devised a comedy that bravely asks – can we laugh at death?

The skilful cast and internationally-acclaimed director John Wright explore the often undiscussed topic using a minimalist, physical style and live music by award-winning producer Luke Harney.

Despite its macabre-sounding surface, the Arts Council England-funded show will guarantee laughter and move people by its poignancy.

“Our journey lacked accessible comedy commenting on cancer, death and dying, so began the idea for our show.

“We created this mortally funny piece to explore the comedy behind death, dying and grief.

“Through music, dance and physical theatre, we aim to interpret the themes as gentle and ridiculous.

“The show asks – can we laugh in the face of death and it resonates with anyone who is frustrated by mortality.

“One thing is sure – you will feel comfortable feeling exactly how you feel,” said Tess.

The show is touring the UK this year after a much-admired Arts Council-funded South West tour in 2017.

The company will collect for Penny Brohn at both Highgate shows.

With 37 years’ experience, Penny Brohn is the UK’s leading charity offering whole person support, its Bristol Whole Life Approach – focused on mind, body, spirit and emotions, before, during and after treatment.

The charity focuses on areas such as diet, exercise and managing stress, through courses, one-to-one therapies, groups, a Treatment Support Clinic and national helpline.


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