When I heard the words ‘free’ and ‘mindfulness’ workshop I jumped to add Losing My Mindfulness to my Fringe schedule. Although the mindfulness goes slightly out the window, this quick-witted play is an experience in itself led superbly by Katie McLeod in a intense hour of less exercises and more realisation.
Your employer is making redundancies, your rental contract is up for renewal and your relationship isn’t quite what it seems, what better time to run a mindfulness workshop! Inspired by true events, Katie McLeod brings to life this comedy drama that explores the pressures of modern life and how we can try to combat them.
From the start Katie makes it clear she is the life and soul of this piece. An incredibly confident and able actress, she spends much of the show playing with the concept and engaging the audience with the on-the-spot additions. You smile from the moment she bundles into the cafe and calls ‘are you all coming to mindfulness workshop?!’ It almost feels the piece would be nothing without specifically her to bring it to life.
The idea itself is interesting and clever. What you go in expecting from the show is not what you leave with, and the real underlying message soon becomes clear, excellently drip-fed to you over the course of an hour.
What lets the piece down slightly is that it uses a mindfulness workshop as the platform to tell this particular story. There are moments where you feels it’s almost mocking the validity of the exercises. Mindfulness to some may be a poncy millennial term, but to many, including myself, it’s a sound practice for their condition. A general stress workshop with mindfulness referenced and practiced on occasion may have worked better. Some of the writing seemed to directly target mindfulness and suggest it was futile except to help the character, Serena, keep her job.
For a discussion on emotional abuse it worked perfectly. For making a point about mental health, maybe not so much, but the experience is enjoyable and the hidden agenda works. Katie McLeod is a force to be reckoned with and one to keep an eye on after this one woman whirlwind of an encounter.
Losing My Mindfulness is at the Natural Food Kafe as part of the Edinburgh Fringe Festival until 25 August. This a free event as part of PBH’s Free Fringe.