MUMBURGER – The Archivist’s Gallery, London.
Appearances can be deceiving. If one were to look at the moniker heading up this production alone, they probably wouldn’t be expecting a play preoccupied with grief. But that’s exactly what Mumburger is all about.
Written by the Archivist Gallery’s writer in residence, Sarah Kosar, this is an incisive play, and one that elects not to eschew or even momentarily divert its gaze from the nitty and, indeed, the gritty. It is a stark stare into the abyss formed at the death of a parent and a spouse. It is urgent material that holds dear to its timeless concern, but also asks unusual questions along the way.
A taut two-hander, this is headed up by Tiffany (Rosie Wyatt) – an eloquent young woman who has aspirations of becoming a spoken word artist in the guise of Kate Tempest – and her father Hugh (Lindon Alexander) – a thoughtful man of whom you quickly get the impression has not been the most attentive of parents. Their mother and wife, respectively, has been killed on the M25 by a Birdseye truck. Prematurely snatched away, they are left with a big to-do list. There’s the coffin to order, consideration of legal action for a murder by dangerous driving and more.
First, however, they have to address their relationship. It is immediately apparent that this father and daughter are in the throes of fractious disharmony. Quite how they find a dialogue again isn’t easy to identify. We learn that their mother was a fierce eco-warrior who propagated a vegan lifestyle inherited by her nearest and dearest. In the centre of the stage lies a fridge freezer. Out of it comes a brown bag sodden with grease. What is in it?
Mumburger is visceral fare and not afraid of overstatement. It is knowingly and consciously confrontational. It is knotted with the complexity of grief and the grieving process, which is a tough thing to dissect. The fact that Kosar has been able to carve a new path on a route so well-trodden, is a rare achievement. This is powerful, and in terms of performances, Rosie Wyatt’s is one of the most committed and strong as this writer has seen on the fringe for some time.
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By Greg Wetherall
9th – 24th July 2016
The Archivist’s Gallery, London, N1 5ET