Dee's Cafe & Bar, 403 Princes Street, Dunedin

24/03/2019 - 30/03/2019

Dunedin Fringe 2019

Production Details

This is the story of the oldest, strongest, most independent woman I know. My Nan. 

This cheeky tale of life and death is filled with lighthearted jests and tongue & cheek (and denture) jokes, as it tells the winding tale of a comedian coming to terms with losing his strong willed, inspirational and quick-witted Nan.

A cathartic, comedic elegy.

“A heartwarming & heartbreaking story. Exuberant & shameless.” – ★★★★ –

Warning: Contains soft mention of suicide

Dee’s Cafe & Bar, 403 Princes Street, Dunedin
SUN 24 – SAT 30 March 2019
$10.00 – $12.00
Buy 3+ tickets, get a $2 discount per ticket 🙂
*Fees may apply 

Theatre , Solo , Comedy ,

It’s not about the hired help

Review by Kimberley Buchan 25th Mar 2019

The love that Dion Arnold has for his grandmother exudes out of him and fills the (admittedly tiny) stage. The more the audience hears about her, the more we love her too. It is adorable that Arnold has not only created an hour-long show about his grandmother (Geams) but he’s travelled to the other side of the planet to share it with us. 

With the help of a slideshow Arnold takes us through his grandmother’s whole life. He begins with her favourite rap artists, who also appear to inspire Arnold with the pace of his speech. He then takes us through the usual pattern of life of from the 1920s of birth, growth, marriage and children. This kind of life does not usually inspire hour-long shows in their honour. However, Geams has a wicked sense of humour that her grandson has inherited and a no-holds-barred attitude towards life.

While the start of the show is a bit fumbly, once Arnold warms into it the jokes started landing. They do so consistently throughout the rest of the show even when the humour starts to get quite dark; the audience feels like they know Geams well enough to get away with thoroughly enjoying the grimmest of her one liners.

The reason the humour gets so dark is that the show My Grandmother’s M.A.I.D is not about the hired help who cleans up after you. A M.A.I.D is Canada’s legal medically assisted death program. Arnold does not hold anything back in describing what it was like going through this process with his adored grandmother. It is a relief to note that Geams’ personality prevents this part of the story from getting too mawkish.

This is a timely show to have, given that euthanasia is about to come up for serious debate in this country. This is recommended viewing for anyone with an opinion on this topic to see how another country deals with this issue. While the M.A.I.D is the foundation of the show, who Geams was far outshines the way her life ended, and Arnold’s story is one of celebration. The people upstairs in Dee’s Café also start celebrating part way through the show, and then Arnold’s enthusiastic projection really becomes an asset.

The show would benefit from a little less ramble at the beginning and end, but you will forgive Arnold once you meet his grandmother and you will leave the show with a really strong urge to go and visit your own. 


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