Physical TheatreReviewSouth East

BRIGHTON FRINGE: Motherload! -Brighton Spiegeltent: Bosco

Reviewer: Lela Tredwell

Created by: Urban Foxes Collective
Reviewer: Lela Tredwell

Winner of the Pulse Suitcase Prize, this intensely dark comedy includes physical theatre, clowning, audience participation and a multimedia overload.

During this extraordinary show, we are exposed to a TED talk given by Mother Earth. She’s not in the best of shapes. She’s hooked up to some tubes, she’s ailing, but like a misguided grandma, she initially seems pleased to see us. Elena Voce’s portrayal of Mother Earth is innovative and forceful. This show is bold, off the wall, and has a brashness to cut through the most apathetic audience members.

The PowerPoint slides in Mother Earth’s ‘TED talk’ are largely used for comic effect, as she asks the burning question: should she have a baby? The question is jarring with her character. The answer she projects behind her is resounding and non-negotiable, yet she keeps asking the question.

The physical theatre in this show is striking, particularly the end sequence which merges a sound track into a mesmerising performance. The multimedia overload is highly effective.

However, the audience participation sections are less successful and raise concerns. A woman chosen from the audience is sprayed with liquid designed to represent semen. This happens twice. Once, at the hands of a male audience member and the second time, by Voce as Mother Earth herself. This could be designed to represent the mistreatment of women across the planet but to avoid contributing further to that, the handling of this needs to be reviewed. The content warning should at the very least reflect this representation of sexual abuse and also that of abortion which the audience members previously called on to participate, are forced to make a decision regarding.

This show tackles the complex issues of parenthood in the face of a catastrophic climate crisis. It asks, do you think we can change? And projects up a resounding and sadly seemingly non-negotiable answer.

Commissioned by Cambridge Junction with support from the Stobbs Troop New Ideas Fund, Arts Council England and Camden People’s Theatre, this piece confronts the tension between biology, reproductive rights, narcissism and responsibility.

It is a fringe show about the fading of love and wonder. It’s about the extreme arrogance of a species. It’s about entitlement and self-destruction. It’s about: should I have a baby at the end of the world? And it’s about not being able to hear the word no.

Reviews on 28th May.

The Reviews Hub Score

Intensely dark comedy

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