The NHS estimates that postpartum psychosis affects around 1 in 500 mothers shortly after giving birth. Zena Forster’s explosive new dark comedy after birth looks at this, whilst being a real crowd-pleaser. Brutally honest and equally tender and tough, mother-of-two Ann (played by Sally Tatum) and her new-born are trapped in a mother and baby unit after Ann was sectioned for displaying postpartum psychosis symptoms shortly after giving birth.
For many of us, the struggle to understand our mothers and the choices they’ve made is a lifelong adventure, often unearthing more questions than answers. Lòng Mẹ (a Vietnamese phrase meaning Mother’s soul/heart/love) interrogates this struggle through two very different, very personal stories told through the lens of the most questioning of all children – the child of immigrants.
Mental illness isn’t portrayed often enough in theatre, especially discussion on how it effects those around it. LOVE (Watching Madness) is a beautifully apt title for this piece performed and written by Isabelle Kabban, and directed by Ruth Anna Phillips. It explores the history of Kabban’s relationship with her mother and, specifically, her mother’s Bipolar Disorder.
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.
This is a joyful delve into one woman’s life, celebrating the successes, the heartbreak, and everything in between. The audience feel part of a warm conversation that leaves them contented, and like they’ve just shared a cup of tea with an old friend.
A woman informs us that storytelling needs a sustained breath. She’s then interrupted by a crying baby, a young boy who wants her attention, and a husband who points out both but makes no attempt to help. The unnamed translator, who may or may not have lived in New York, now lives in Mexico City. Her days that – remembered or imagined – were once filled with reading and writing, nights out, casual sex and music, now consist of nappies, playtime and housework.
Joy is 40 years old, a successful businesswoman, and happily childfree. She is also up for a significant promotion, puts in long hours in a stressful job, and faces daily microaggressions from a systemically racist and misogynistic society. When she witnesses a woman jump from the roof of the 40-storey office block where she works, the experience combines with the societal pressure and violence Black women experience – represented by a chorus of Black women – threatening to completely overwhelm her.
At the start of what seems to be a fairytale, we meet Nour and Yumna in their tiny house. They have just enough space for the two of them and all the things they need. Though Yumna’s ears don’t work, she’s teaching her language to the little girl she’s raising on behalf of her best friend whose gone to make a new life in a faraway land. They are happy, want for nothing, and their days are full of light, love and stories. But the bombs are getting closer, the men with guns are ever more threatening, and Nour’s mother could send for her at any point.
Rema and her mum are at home in East London during Ramadan, preparing to break the day’s fast, when their living room window shatters. Another day, another hate crime – but this event is the catalyst for a holiday full of new friends, new understanding, new creative expression and new betrayals.
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.