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Review of Muvvahood by Libby Liburd at Park Theatre

Muvvahood - credit David Monteith-Hodge
Muvvahood – photo credit David Monteith-Hodge

Muvvahood is a furious mix of political theatre, TED talk, and one woman show. Inspired by the vilification of ‘single mothers,’ Libby Liburd conducted extensive research into the realities of being a single mother and has created a show that seeks to both inform and entertain, whilst setting the record straight. Liburd’s angry. Angry that ‘single mother’ is synonymous with ‘bad mother’ and that the media chooses to suggest that children from single-parent families will be somehow ‘broken’.

There’s excellent use of multi-media and the piece is peppered with statistics that often surprise and shock, plus real stories that are both moving and at times a little depressing. The promised government changes have not been forthcoming and trying to make ends meet, sustain a tenancy, career, life, are all exhausting and time-consuming. On top of that somehow the world seems to sneer and suggest that single mothers have somehow ‘failed at life’. No wonder she wanted to make this show. It’s a heartfelt fervent plea for people to see beyond the stereotypes.

Muvvahood is more than just a rant about injustice, it’s important, and most parents will relate to Liburd’s stories, and it’s also good light-hearted fun. Muvvahood also brings excellent audience interaction in the mix, she’s fun to watch, engaging and likable. It’s a courageous, passionate and honest piece of work and Liburd’s at her best when furious, funny and speaking from personal experience. Director Julie Addy shows a keen eye for pace, movement and the need for the show to be theatrical as well as informative. There are moments during the verbatim stories that the pace drops a little, and some of the punch of the performance is lost, but this is ‘theatre’ with something to say and the audience at Park Theatre remained engaged and moved throughout.

4 stars

Review by Roz Wyllie

1 in 4 families in the UK are single-parent families
That’s 2 million single parents in the UK alone
91% of single parents are mothers

But what is a single mother actually like?
We all know the stereotype: a teenager, wearing a tracksuit, smoking a fag, pushing a buggy, on her way to Lidl with her ASBO children that live off cheesy chips and must be rescued by Jamie Oliver. Funny, frank and authentic, Muvvahood is a one-woman show, created from the voices of single mothers living in London today.

Part stand up, part TED talk and part verbatim, Libby Liburd explores exactly what is our problem with single mothers?

Muvvahood
Written and performed by Libby Liburd
Muvvahood touring dates:
3-4th November – Park Theatre
11th November – Poplar Union
23rd November – Mirth, Marvel and Maud
30th November – 1 st December – Pleasance, London

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