Death has followed Stephanie around since she was a child. Whether it was her cat or her grandad, losing loved ones and mourning them has become almost commonplace for her. However, there’s one particular death that she isn’t able to talk about, but it’s the one that she needs to talk about the most.
Stephanie Greenwood’s autobiographical one-woman show moves back and forth through time, with amusing anecdotes from the past a distraction from facing the present. Greenwood regales us with tales of brave grandmothers and regal great-grandmothers, using song and music to bring those stories to life. There is grace in the way she tells these stories, but when confronted with a memory of this other person – a friend – the memories are ugly and distorted. The lighting design adds to this, with glaring reds dominating the stage as Stephanie retreats within herself.
Unfortunately It’s Beautiful, Over There is top-heavy. It feels like too much time is spent on those anecdotes from the past that, when the big reveal takes place, there isn’t enough time left for any of it to properly sink in. A subplot involving Stephanie’s brother also feels undercooked and irrelevant to everything else going on.
Greenwood is an excellent actor and fun to watch, but her performance is let down by a script that tries to do too much. Putting on voices and playing the ukulele are a good indicator of her ability, but don’t really add much to the piece. Instead they take time away from the root of the story, one that deserves to be told.