The Old Red Lion Theatre
Opening Night – 30th June 2017
“an exciting, moving, hilarious and provocative piece of theatre”
The first thing we hear from Tiffany (Rosie Wyatt) is an extended burp, caused by her opening and downing a can of Diet Coke on stage. It’s a good introduction to this immensely visceral play, in which the playwright, Sarah Kosar, explores the pain that stems from grief and emotional isolation by putting the body centre stage.
The metaphorical is made concrete. It’s a simple, but effective theatrical concept, and is cleverly offset by the striking visual projections behind the action, which serve as a continual reminder of the online world which we all increasingly inhabit.
Photography courtesy of Lidia Crisafulli
Kosar is a playful playwright, both in her willingness to embrace the surreal, and the evident pleasure she takes in the spoken word. There are some wonderful Ortonesque moments – ‘And I just lost my mum. My parent. I’m a half-orphan now’, Tiffany spits at her dad (Andrew Frame) towards the beginning of the show. I also loved the sections of Kate Tempest inspired spoken word in the piece, in which Tiffany tries to make sense of her painful emotional landscape.
Despite the subject matter, the play is also extremely funny, and it’s a testament to both the playwright and the two performers that this reviewer both cried with laughter and was moved to tears within the show’s 75 minute time frame. Andrew Frame’s Hugh was a poignant portrait of a man initially paralysed by the loss of his wife, slowly returning to the world and re-finding his relationship with his daughter.
Witnessing him open up, both physically and vocally, over the course of the play, was a delight. Although I could have done with a little more tonal variation, Rosie Wyatt was convincing too as the neurotic 25 year old Tiffany, weighed down by the loss of her mother, inching towards the light. Tommo Fowler’s able and subtle direction allowed each character to breathe, and the design team (Robbie Butler – lighting; Odinn Orn Hilmarsson – sound; Charlotte Henery – set and costume; Fed – projection) created an arresting visual and aural world.
Mumburger is an exciting, moving, hilarious and provocative piece of theatre. Kosar is clearly a talent to watch.
Reviewed by Rebecca Crankshaw
plays at The Old Red Lion until July 22nd