“It’s not really a Sofie Hagen show unless it ends with me going hurghfhfhhfh,” is the only the thing Hagen says that lets slip a smidgen of her timid side during her articulate and powerful show, Dead Baby Frog. Her throat is hoarse but her voice and its message remain clear throughout.
Hagen’s audience is presented with a trigger warning as they take their seats, so this article should include one too. Dead Baby Frog is about the emotional abuse the young Hagen and her growing family experienced through her grandmother’s second husband. And providing a trigger warning is just one of many practical ways Hagen demonstrates her conscientiousness towards making a better world during her show.
This is a gentle offering about a rough subject from the Queen of Callbacks, with opportunities to learn more about Scandinavian social mores and pick up some handy Danish too. For me, this show was perhaps even more personally resonant given that my cousin, who is more like my little sister and inspires a fierce protectiveness in me, is Danish. Hearing that same inflection in her English from her Danish accent telling me that things can and should improve, at a time when there are honest-to-God Nazis bearing torches in Charlottesville and across the globe, was a source rallying comfort when there seems to be so little around.
Hagen draws inspiration from her grandmother, who taught her a lesson in giving the narcissistic, psychopathic and abusive people in the world a dose of their own medicine. It may not be a solution that everyone would agree with, but she puts forward a strong case for not putting up with anyone’s shit anymore.
Through a journey that includes laughing at funerals, punching people in the face and Westlife, Hagen’s bold sensitivity perfectly showcases the radical idea that it is possible to override your formative traumas so as not to only survive, but to thrive. However, it’s best done together with your nearest and dearest, particularly if you have a wryly frosty mother and a sassy grandmother playing the longest of long games.
Oh, and the free badges are brilliant, too.
Sofie Hagen’s Dead Baby Frog runs until 28th August at Bedlam Theatre, 14:00.