Mumburger is advertised as a play about family, grief and red meat. And grief is the key theme that drives this story further.
Proud Archivist, a small multi-arts venue situated on Regent’s Canal, Haggerston, is hosting events and exhibitions that feature a variety of programming. Proud Archive are setting a good a example in their support of new writing. In addition to Mumburger, they are currently hosting a photography exhibition, Breaking Barriers, which focuses on refugees.
Additionally, Proud Archivist now have their first writer-in-residency, Sarah Kosar; this opportunity gives Kosar a home in which she can grow and develop her work. Kosar’s extraordinary and laudable attitude is the reason behind this residency – the playwright took it upon herself to contact the venue and secure the opportunity. Mumburger is the product of that residency.
Mumburger is advertised as a play about family, grief and red meat. And grief is the key theme that drives this story. Hugh (Lindon Alexander) has lost his wife in a horrific car crash and provoking him to the limits a grieving man can reach, is his daughter, Tiffany (Rosie Wyatt).
People need to be contacted, flights need to be booked, a coffin must be bought, and apparently Amazon only stocks urns. Why is that the Tiffany is the one to be thinking about practicality? As she questions her father’s lacklustre response, she is ready to explode, reaching this point, once the details of the unknown package are revealed.
A takeout greasy brown bag, with a detailed receipt, instructs father and daughter on how to deal with its contents. This vegan family – except on lapsed days – relies on one another for support. What are the limits of the human condition when something is asked of someone and the person asking is a family member? Will the content of the request bring them closer to the deceased or to one another?
What the playwright is asking or expressing is unclear. Is it how humans respond to the one thing that is inevitable? Or is it examining their response to death of all humankind, or to the death of close family members? Or going one step further- is it considering the destruction of the whole animal kingdom? Kosar’s point may not be clear, but the play is stimulating and thought-provoking, leaving the audience to decipher a conclusion.
Mumburger, as a new play, is very much suited to the Proud Archivist space.The setting includes some music and screen projections. The latter however distracts from the poetry inherent in Kosar’s work. Her writing is outstanding, touching on a subject that makes most people uneasy. Extracts from Father of the Bride immediately take you out of the claustrophobic family home, but at times this is bothersome.
In the small space, Wyatt’s energy and her ‘half orphan’ status drives each scene to another. Her screaming drills inside of you; her sorrow is reflected in the response from the audience. (The calibre of this talent is supported by the Production groups ‘Stephanie Koniger’, and ‘Roughewn’, and their attitude towards Equity’s ‘Professionally Made, Professionally Paid campaign’)
Alexander’s Hugh, on the other hand, plays the emotionless Dad exactly how you would expect a Dad to be. I am left unsure whether it is Tommo Fowler’s direction, or the actor’s performance, to which I could not connect.
Overall the piece is strong, with the writing and Wyatt’s talent surpassing expectations.