REVIEW – Mother, à la Carte, Word of Mouth Cafe, Strange Theatre

*****

Mother, à la Carte is the debut production from new Edinburgh-based company, Strange Theatre. In this site-specific intimate performance in the Word of Mouth Cafe, Caitlin Skinner directs Liberty Des Roches-Dueck in this monologue of guilt, bitterness and breadmaking.

Des Roches-Dueck is convincing as she bustles about the cafe premises, recalling the keystone events of her relationship with her late mother. She has also written this piece; how much of it is based on her real-life experience is unknown, but the performance and script are certainly believable enough to be based on fact.

Placed objects around the cafe serve as memento mori used to conjure bitterwseet memories; but it is – appropriately enough – the piece’s use of food and drink which has the greatest impact.

Brewing tea therefore becomes a ritualised attack on the character’s rigid upbringing; whilst her attempts to replicate her mother’s bakery skills show her the impact she is having on her own daughter’s life.

And by the end, where the breaking of bread takes on a touchingly symbolic resonance, the audience are left satisfied by the many ingredients which have gone together to cook up this tender and honest examination of the eternal mother / daughter relationship.

With a mission to create challenging yet uplifting productions, Strange Theatre’s innovative and intimate production of Mother, à la Carte bodes well for the company’s future and it will be interesting to see what they have to serve up next.

Mother à la Carte will be performed again at Word of Mouth Cafe on Mother’s Day, 3 April. Details are available on the Facebook event page.

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