My Mother's Shoes

Theatre (true-life, new writing)

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  • Laughing Horse @ Bar 50 - Upstairs
  • 12:15
  • Aug 25
  • 1 hour
  • Suitability: 14+ (Guideline)
  • Country: United Kingdom - England
  • Group: Karola Gajda
  • Warnings and additional info: Contains Distressing Themes. Venue Age Restriction: Strictly 18+ after 18:00


Some women aspire to wearing their mother’s shoes. As a child we might have dressed up in them. Later in life, we may follow in our mother’s footsteps intentionally, or because of how we’ve been moulded. Aged just three in 1940, Karola’s Polish mum was deported by Stalin to Siberia. The Red Cross reunited her with her father, presumed dead, in the UK in 1957. Apparently safe, she then fell ill with a mystery illness, which was completely misdiagnosed. Karola Gajda considers wearing her mother’s shoes in a show that walks the tightrope of painful and funny.

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General venue access

  • Accessible entry: Information not supplied
  • Wheelchair access type: Not fully wheelchair accessible

  • Stairs: Information not supplied

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Melanie Branton 110 days ago

This was a fascinating, fabulously written and beautifully performed show that left the audience visibly moved. Drawing on highly personal material, it charted a complex mother-daughter relationship, affected by culture clash, personal tragedy and the trauma of the Second World War. Highly recommended.

Rosie 117 days ago

Karola's story of her mother's life and their relationship is the best thing I've seen at the Fringe this year. I am planning to go again and take others with me. I would thoroughly recommend this story to anyone who wants to hear a warm, funny, authentic account of the ordeals, struggles and joys of an immigrant family and their integration into northern British life. Totally engaging!!

Krystyna 117 days ago

Beautifully written, beautifully performed. This isn't ''entertainment''; it's food for the soul. It's moving, gripping, true; a piece of art. The performer gives all of herself, to tell a story that's deeply moving, at times painful, at times humorous, but ultimately redemptive.
Go and see it!

Ed 117 days ago

ONE NOT TO BE MISSED. This is a poignant and moving story told by a s very articulate and engaging performer. We were thoroughly captivated by this show.

Jane Hore 119 days ago

This show is a must see. Karola is a creative and inspirational artist who tells the story of her Mother's life.......a Polish lady taken from her homeland at the age of three by the Russians to a Siberian gulag during the war. Separated from her family she endures years of hardship and near starvation. After the war she comes to England where she faces health challenges both physically and emotionally as a result of her past..........
The story is utterly gripping, told with breathtaking honesty, using visual and sound effects to create an atmosphere which makes you feel you are right there at that moment. It is a passionate and moving encounter with the past......both personally and historically. Karola cleverly draws us in.....recreating and bringing to life a journey from unimaginable sadness through faith and love to forgiveness and finally peace..It explores the relationships we all have with our Parents and the legacy and impact they have on our lives.
Karola is engaging and adds humour to this serious subject throughout, which is cleverly done.
It would be easy to miss this talented lady amongst the many bigger and more popular shows perhaps........but Karola's show is definitely worth seeing and highly recommended.

Lynn Jennings 124 days ago

From the moment Karola started this moving account of her life and relationship with her Mother, I was captivated. There was beautiful imagery used with minimal props to draw the audience closer to the feelings Karola was recounting, as she remembered her past. The audience experienced the emotions Karola was sharing in this intimate manner. Definitely one to see!

Will Morton 124 days ago

This was a fantastic show. Karola reveals details about her relationship with her mother in a way that feels personal to her.

Karola's use of props and sound effects throughout makes the show even more accessible and her sense of timing is impeccable.

The mix between comedy and tension flows seamlessly throughout the performance and Karola makes it seem completely natural. Her dedication and personal attachment to the material shows and the audience frequently become immersed within the story thanks to her open storytelling technique.

I would highly recommend seeing this show.

Suzanne Williams 125 days ago

#MyMothersShoes is a fabulous show. Thought provoking, it made me laugh and (almost) made me cry. What more can you ask?

Richard Morton 125 days ago

Karola’s relationship with her mother is really brought to life, and the audience feels part of it, which at different times is shocking, moving and funny. You won’t come out of this unchanged.

P T 126 days ago

Inspiring true story about a families great struggles from the backdrop of the Second World War (Eastern Front) to modern, gaining a view as how life could be so volatile and desperate at times and how such can permenantly effect multiple generations. Would recommend.

Ann Croft 126 days ago

An incredible story of fortitude and resilience against the backdrop of WW2. The story of Karola’s mother introduced me to a facet of the war I knew little about. Deeply moving and thought-provoking, with just the right amount of humour. Thoroughly recommended.

Sue Morton 126 days ago

An outstanding emotional performance. Karola takes us on a powerful journey, with humour as well as tears. There is some common ground to be found for all of us in this raw, honest and ultimately powerful journey. I will certainly try to see it again. Not to be missed

Bozena Masters 127 days ago

#MyMothersShoes #KarolaGajda
What an intensely moving and transformative show. Though rooted in post war Polish refugee history, it speaks to all mothers and daughters who want to and need to understand each other. How can we forgive our mothers the things we don’t comprehend because they never spoke of them? How can we hope to feel empathy for the person who should be the most important in our lives and yet feels distant? How do we learn to cope with our parents’ weaknesses and disability? And in the end, how can we learn to forgive them and love them nonetheless?

Karola’s performance pulls at your heartstrings. Highly recommend.

Carol Meredith 128 days ago

#MyMothersShoes is a wonderful, emotional journey you should really go and see. A fabulous one woman show. Personal and poignant, @KarolaGajda performance is a must see.

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The List (3/5 stars) 118 days ago

A daughter looks back on her relationship with her Polish mother...

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Ed Fringe Review (4/5 stars) 121 days ago

It was a personal fairy tale hinting at reality not hiding it...

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Ed Fringe Review (4/5 stars) 121 days ago

It feels rather like an old friend telling you a story...

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.

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Participants - for further details on our audience and published review policies, including how to add or opt out of reviews, please click here.