I’ll tell you this for nothing: my mother the war hero- another incredible Adelaide Fringe show

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“I’ll tell you this for nothing: my mother the war hero” is a fantastic show currently on at the Adelaide Fringe. It is based on the true story of the war-time experiences in France, Belgium and Germany as seen through the eyes and experiences of Phyllis, the playwright and solo actress’ mother.

Ill tell you this for nothing: my mother the war hero

Kate JasonSmith has written this wonderful play and herself plays all of the parts. She does so flawlessly going from one character (and his or her respective accent/voice) with ease. Kate covers a range of characters from playing herself visiting her elderly mother, to Phyllis and her war-time friend Cursey (who seems like she would have been a hilarious, uplifting person to be accompanied by in those dark times), to Phyllis’ staunchly Protestant, Catholic hating mother, to Phyllis’ beau Jason who, to her mother’s disgust, she later married.


To live through war-time would have been an incredibly depressing experience. To have seen all the injured and dead soldiers and civilians as Phyllis did, even moreso. However, while this certainly is a play with serious and dark moments, Kate manages to tell stories of Phyllis’ experience without having the audience leaving the theatre feeling morose. Of course there are sad moments, but among them there are also funny, lighter moments.


We see Phyllis both as a nurse during war time and as an elderly lady suffering what we would probably call PTSD today with flashbacks and fears that the “concrete lintel” was going to fall in (a fear we later connect as being based on her experience of quickly running to take shelter in a doorway of a building with such a lintel on a London street during a raid).

My mother the war hero
Image: Tabitha Arthur

Many left the theatre wishing we had met Phyllis but also feeling like through seeing Kate perform, in a way we had. We learn that Phyllis went on to live into her 90s so this play shows just a fragment of her life. However, Kate JasonSmith highlights the achievements, endurance and personality of her wonderful mother Phyllis through what would undoubtedly would have been one of the most difficult times of her life.


Kate JasonSmith tells Phyllis’ story with delicacy and, where appropriate, humour. Her writing and her acting are both superb. I’d love to see what else Kate writes or performs in.




Coincidentally, so far all of the shows that I have seen at Adelaide Fringe 2020 have been one-woman shows. To engage an audience in a time of ever shorter attention spans is difficult. To do so solo, is a marvel. You can read reviews of other Adelaide Fringe shows at the links below:





You can also read about other French linked shows HERE


You can see “I’ll tell you this for nothing: my mother the war hero” one more time in Adelaide: at The Pocket at Stirling Fringe tomorrow, Tuesday 25 February at 2:30pm. Buy your tickets here: https://adelaidefringe.com.au/fringetix/i-ll-tell-you-this-for-nothing-my-mother-the-war-hero-af2020


You can also see it in Bateman’s Bay at 7:30pm, Friday 6 March 2020. And you can purchase your tickets here: www.trybooking.com/603150



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