I Love You But F*ck Off, VAULT Festival

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by Meredith Jones Russell

On the eve of her 22nd birthday, Kerry Frampton got pregnant, catapulting her into the life of a young mum. Fast forward 22 years later, and daughter Matilda is wondering how  on earth how her mum did it.

I Love You, But F*ck Off is an autobiographical, devised piece which gives its audience a glimpse into Kerry and Matilda’s unique relationship, but also ruminates more generally on the innate bond between a mother and daughter.

Using a long elastic ‘umbilical cord’ to represent the constant cycle of separation and closeness between them, the two women retrace the events that have defined them with a mixture of great humour and touchingly personal revelation. They share photos, secrets, in-jokes, and the overwhelming desire to bite the person you adore.

Full of heart and with plenty to love, the piece is a rough and ready mishmash of physical comedy, diary reading, personal musings and off the cuff gags. Its incredible charm lies in the fabulous relationship between its actors and the uniquely personal touch they provide.

In fact, the pair appear so close, and to get on so well, that the play’s title is almost misleading, as the content features a bit too much love and slightly too little f*cking off. More of a contrast in tone might actually enhance the tenderness and warmth of the central relationship.

As it is, the play really works best when things go wrong, when the two leads are able to rely on their natural comedic timing and quick thinking to irreverently ad-lib and break up the occasionally cloying tone.

Overall, however, it’s impossible not to be caught up in the joyous relationship the two so obviously share. They love each other so much you can’t help but fall a little bit in love with both of them too, and that makes the play a warm and fuzzy delight for anyone who’s ever loved anyone so much they just really want to bite their face off.

I Love You But F*ck Off runs through 7 February.

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