The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and the Narcisisstic Mother, Edinburgh Festival Fringe

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by Laura Kressly

Lucy and her son Raedie have grown apart in recent years. Lucy is worried that her son lacks empathy, and Raedie thinks his mum is full of herself. Both of them love Aussie pop star Sia though, so they use her music, dance and physical theatre to explore their relationship and reconnect with each other in this real-life mother and son show.

They begin wearing nude leotards and wigs in Sia’s trademark hairstyle. Identical choreography is executed with balletic fluidity by Lucy, and angular aggression by Raedie. The juxtaposition between trained artist and frustrated young person naturally translates to the tension between mother and child.

They both throw themselves around the space in energetic sequences interspersed with scenes where they wear each other’s clothes and discuss the things that each other does that wind them up. Motherly affection isn’t neglected however; Lucy shares memories of Raedie at different ages and the two also lift and throw each other around. Their co-dependency is clear, and touching.

The push-pull dynamic alternates between conflict and affection, and emphasised with large, pre-recorded video projections of their faces that often emotionally compliment the action on stage. Their honest feelings about each other are conveyed through this medium, providing a safe filter that lets them express themselves, but much more comes across in the movement.

The whole effect is one of receiving a hug from a loved one after a fight. It’s warm and comforting, and supports laughter from reflection. As much as family frustrates us and drives us crazy, they’re alright sometimes.

The Ballad of the Apathetic Son and the Narcisisstic Mother runs through 26 August.

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