Change Your Own Life
Created by: Jean Sergent
BATS Theatre, 10th March 2020
Reviewed by: Rebecca Lester
Speaking about traumatic grief with eloquence is a hard feat to master, but Jean Sergent’s storytelling is second to none. She hits the mark completely, combining heart-wrenching moments with humour in all the right places. Sergent has me crying more than a few times, but never in a way I feel overwhelmed or uncomfortable; she has perfected the art of not overstepping any boundaries while still capturing the audience’s hearts.
Walking in, I feel at home. The set feels like the bedroom of a well-known friend, with pictures of cats, tarot cards, and gorgeous witchy artwork creating this ambience. No element feels out of place, each pertaining to aspects of Sergent’s “worst year”.
The performance begins with a slight holdup (the usher not turning the house lights off), but after instructing them to do so, Sergent gets the ball rolling immediately, immersing the audience with the courage to open up and be raw. There are a few hiccups throughout, but to me, it only adds to the realness of what is being shared.
At times, some of the story’s elements seem to be brushed over slightly, such as the mentioning of joining a cult. This leaves me wanting to hear more, but of course it is understandably difficult to fit every juicy detail into a one-hour timeframe. It doesn’t affect the power of the show however, and Sergent’s words earn her a well-deserved standing ovation.
Sergent’s heartfelt and humorous list of ways to change your life, hence the title of the show, resonates with me heavily, and gives me a different outlook on my own troubles that I’m very thankful for. Sergent emphasises that despite hardships, you can still create a life you love and want to live.
Sergent leaves the audience with a lot to think about; who are you? Are you where you want to be? And who do you trust to clear out your bedside table when you are gone?