Whilst I’ve seen some unpalatable plots in my time, the story of Mumburger takes things to the next level.
After a fatal car accident, a father and daughter are left reeling and in despair. Whilst Hugh becomes a morose and introverted figure, his daughter Tiffany becomes a whirlwind of energy, plans and spreadsheets.
The dearly departed mother and wife however is not content with a normal funeral. She arranges for her dead body to be sent to them as juicy burgers, which she wants them eat as a “digestive memorial”.
Whilst the premise would be ripe material for a ten minute sketch, it is way too thin to be dragged out for over an hour, meaning it ends with a whimper rather than a bang.
A longer production only lays bare the plot’s deficiencies; mainly why would someone want to put their family through such an ordeal? It is undoubtedly a play laden with symbolism but it is never satisfactorily explained why such a seemingly generous woman would make such an unreasonable demand.
Sarah Kosar’s script features some touching poetry and prose, along with sharp reflections on the nature of modern grieving. However, the surrealness of the core plot means that it is very hard for these moments to hit the mark, as any sense of relatability and empathy goes out of the window.
This disconnect is intensified by the fairly dislikable Tiffany, who spends most of the play haranguing her shell-shocked father. This central relationship evokes little warmth, despite spirited performances from Rosie Wyatt and Andrew Frame.
Whilst the idea of Mumburger is certainly rare, it is certainly not well done.