Tag Archives: Libby Liburd


Stratford Circus Arts Centre



Stratford Circus Arts Centre

Reviewed – 25th April 2019



“A socially relevant and uplifting story well worth telling”


Inspired by the British female boxers who faced immense discrimination in their plight to box alongside their male counterparts in the ring, Fighter by Libby Liburd (writer of Muvvahood and Temporary) is the tale of a mother’s determination to fight even when the pressures of life, both inside the ring and out, threaten her dreams of sparring glory.

Set primarily in the late 90’s; indicated by musical interludes which sent us, wistfully, back to a time pre-Instagram; we follow Lee’s journey (played by Liburd) as she enters Tommy’s boxing gym.

The play opens displaying the dynamic set design of a boxing ring, with an array of young boxers training. These young boxers are actually members of ‘Fight for Peace’, an organisation which incorporates boxing and education to support the personal development of young people. This blurred line of real life with fiction is something that Liburd incorporates often within her work and by no accident. The result is a sense of ‘edutainment’; using entertainment as a powerful conduit to bring light to a social cause. Something, Liburd manages to do quite aptly.

Liburd portrays Lee as a bubbly mother determined to have her time in the ring. This portrayal was funny and very entertaining yet there was a danger, at times, of it becoming one dimensional; with the gags over shadowing any depth of character development. However there was a welcome shift in emotional gear during a soliloquy where Lee explains her trauma at being torn between her boxing and her family, which brought a sense of gravitas, previously missing, to the role.

Lee is guided on her journey by the un-apologetically and brutally honest ‘Alison’ played by the award winning actress Cathy Tyson. Alison provides a contrast to Lee’s struggling character by delivery a sobering perspective of the reality of parenthood and sacrifice.

A notable performance came from ‘Tommy’ the owner of the boxing club payed by David Schaal. Schaal’s depiction of a weary retired boxer with a big heart was fully of pathos and humour and added a lovely complexity to the production as a whole.

Though perforated with expletives (not for the youngest of ears) the somewhat rough language of the play emphasised what was at the heart of it: the celebration of women, their trials, tribulations and constant movement to be recognised as formidable fighters along with their fellow contemporaries; male or otherwise.

A socially relevant and uplifting story well worth telling.


Reviewed by Pippin

Photography by Alex Brenner



Stratford Circus Arts Centre until 27th April


Previously reviewed at this venue:
Mountains: The Dreams of Lily Kwok | ★★★★ | April 2018
Becoming | ★★★★ | March 2019


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Review of Muvvahood – 4 Stars



Park Theatre

Reviewed – 3rd November 2017



“Liburd transforms into different characters with the switch of a scrunchie and a skilful adjustment of eyebrow intensity”


A projector beams three simple statistics; one in four families is headed by a single parent; there are two million single parents in the UK; and that 91% of those single parents are mothers. It is on those terms that we must confront Muvvahood, the one-woman show about the experience of raising a child as a single woman. Written and performed by Libby Liburd, this piece draws directly on her own experiences and those of other single women.

Muvvahood’s first half is a lecture/standup fusion peppered with clips from politicians while its second half comprises monologues drawn directly from other mothers’ real experiences. Together, the research and the storytelling feel thorough without loss of emotional backbone, and both sections are, by turns, touching, funny, and challenging.

Liburd is a terrific performer and she effortlessly switches between skits and transforms into different characters with the switch of a scrunchie and a skilful adjustment of eyebrow intensity. Forays into the audience are a (disappointingly rare) joy, with excellent banter in a skit involving audience members, a purse, and some vicious fag-packet maths. Commentary on political noises on single motherhood is lively and woven well against loose sketches and very personal insights into Liburd’s own life as a single mother.


The monologues are more formal, and are each introduced by the projector. These are purely performance pieces, telling the joyous and devastating stories of real mothers, and Liburd excels in giving those stories a voice. Only one of the five feels weaker than the others; it is a Skype conversation in which Liburd chats to her laptop while her fellow Skyper (a single mother pal) is pre-recorded and projected for the audience. While Liburd utterly dominates a stage on her own, I didn’t quite buy the direct interaction between her and her pre-recorded friend. It is, nevertheless, a great little story in its own right.

Directed by Julie Addy, Muvvahood is both meaty and poignant, yet never bogs itself down. The excellent Liburd and effective usage of lighting and projection drive heavy themes with urgency but also a lightness of touch that invites the audience in without crowding them. However, while Muvvahood grapples many different topics and stories, I wonder if this comes at the expense of depth into any one of them. Nevertheless, I leave my seat entertained, engaged, and more enlightened than when I sat down.


Reviewed by Matthew Wild

Photography by David Monteith-Hodge




was at The Park Theatre



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