Writer: Heather Bandenburg
Director: Sh!t Theatre
Heather is Mummy; Heather is also a wrestler; Heather is also a person. Throughout this one-hour cabaret-wrestling combo, playing at Wrestival, she interrogates the role of the parent in modern Britain, how this intersects with mental health, and how it might not be too dissimilar from wrestling. What results is an enjoyable, if a little rough around the edges, wrestling spectacular.
Using monologue, cabaret and a whole lotta wrestling, Heather takes us through her relationship to the art form and the way in which this intersects with her two pregnancies and resulting post-natal depression. Her monologues themselves are probably the strongest element of the show: although the delivery is sometimes off, the writing is some of the funniest seen on London stages this year, as well as providing the show with an emotional core. Examining these issues through wrestling metaphor is at first a tad poorly paced, but becomes stronger and stronger as the show goes on, whipping the audience into a frenzy with some genuinely shocking wrestling moves whilst highlighting the pressures of the NHS, Instagram and the guilt put on a working mother. These sequences culminate in a joyous celebration of reclaiming your identity and wrestling itself, and Heather’s triumph is warmly received by the audience.
Heather Bandenburg should be celebrated for successfully combining multiple art forms, brilliantly using an extended metaphor to interrogate personal trauma, and for writing an excellent stand-up comedy set. Although the presentation needs a little more rehearsal, its joy and commitment to rediscovering the woman behind the Mummy is admirable.
Runs until 24 September 2022