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Good Grief - Five Deserts in Search of My Father Review

Updated: Aug 13, 2023

Debuting at this year’s Edinburgh Festival Fringe is a brand-new one-man show about the man who walked 500 km over five deserts on five continents to come to terms with the death of his father.

Kakapo Arts Ltd presents a poignant story about one man’s journey through grief and depression to self-discovery and resolution. Writer and musician Jon Lawrence had a difficult relationship with his father and just as they were beginning to repair that relationship, his father was cruelly taken by cancer at the age of 71. After his father’s terminal diagnosis, Jon promised to undertake a desert trek to raise money for a cancer charity. However, that soon escalated to five treks through the Sahara, Mojave, Wadi Rum, Rangipo, and Atacama deserts, with a host of adventures and personal discoveries which helped Jon grieve and come to terms with his clinical depression.

Kakapo Arts Ltd is an award-winning production company established by Jon Lawrence to promote his own writing for film and stage. Jon’s writing seeks to find positive ways forward through grief and loss. Following the success of the award-winning short film The Beachcombers (featuring Emilia Fox) and with the follow-up short Our Little Boat (featuring Martin Shaw) due for release this year, Good Grief offers audiences the chance to laugh, cry, and be entertained. As well as a collection of stories about encounters with rare wildlife, failing footwear, and altitude sickness, the show includes film footage and photographs from his treks, along with original music.

“When all you see around you is sand, you start to look inwards.” - Jon Lawrence

Why the new show? The world has suffered grief on a monumental scale following the pandemic. So many of us are coming to terms with grief, trying to make sense of it, and this show elucidates many of the minutiae of loss and offers suggestions as to how to move on. The show follows on from the success of the book of the same name which has received plaudits from readers around the world.

Kakapo Arts Ltd is the production company behind the award-winning short film The Beachcombers, which has also produced an award-winning soundtrack. At the helm is writer and musician Jon Lawrence. Having written five novels, five novellas, two children’s songbooks, and hundreds of poems, he has also been working with the actor James Wilby on a number of plays that are due to open in 2024 in various theatres around the UK. His upcoming collection of poems called Moving On will be released on Audible featuring the voices of Maxine Peake, Martin Shaw, James Wilby, Emilia Fox, Hugh Quarshie, Claire Goose, and Steven Berkoff.

‘A writer of great talent … Jon is a wonderful writer, brimming full of ideas and quite different ideas as you will see when you read his work (you are in for a treat) and I know he is going to have a huge future.’ James Wilby, Actor & Director (Maurice, Gosford Park, Howards End)

Moving and thought-provoking *****


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