2023 Capital Fringe Review: ‘Grief Baby’s First Road Trip’ by Adedana Ashebir (4 1⁄2 stars)

A young woman explores her relationship with her father, perfectionism, and risk.

In Grief Baby’s First Road Trip, Adedana Ashebir creates not only an emotional tribute to her beloved father but also a catharsis and perhaps a bridge to others experiencing grief. This show is described as a young woman’s quest to find the spirit of her father after his sudden death. It’s not described as a coming-of-age story, a beautiful monologue, or a detailed account of processing grief, but it’s all of those as well. Unspoken are the embedded notions that sometimes the best thing is to sit still and to keep the promises you’ve made to yourself. It is excellent storytelling and reminds me of some of my favorite listens: Radiolab, Stoop Stories, The Moth, and Snap Judgment. Billed as drama, there’s an abundance of humor in Adedana’s tale.

Each performance is ASL interpreted and the ASL interpreter at the performance I attended, Frances Ramsel, was exquisite. A significant technical contingent was also assembled, presumably for lighting and sound cues. Overly dramatic lighting changes proved to be distracting. But it is an otherwise brilliant performance with no tech issues or mic glitches, and Adedana herself is amazing. Holding her voice steady while tears trickle down her cheeks in front of a live audience demonstrates a power and fearlessness most of us would be lucky to emulate.

Adedana Ashebir’s Grief Baby’s First Road Trip is an amazing hour for anyone who has experienced grief or expects to someday.


Running Time: 60 minutes.

Grief Baby’s First Road Trip plays July 21 at 6:00 pm, July 22 at 3:00 pm, and July 23 at 4:45 pm at Sour – 2nd Floor – 1050 Thomas Jefferson. Tickets are $15 and can be purchased online.

Genre: Drama
Director: Kia Davis
Playwright: Adedana Ashebir
Performer: Adedana Ashebir
Age Appropriateness: Appropriate for adults only
Profanity: Yes

The complete 2023 Capital Fringe Festival guidebook is online here.


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