“Motherload”, Edinburgh Festival Fringe 2022

Maggie Rose in Edinburgh
14 August 2022

Motherload at the major (curated) venue Summerhall has been devised by the London based company, Urban Foxes.

Billed as ‘a clowning show for the end of days’, the play delves into a crucial question for potential parents in western Europe: should, or should they not, bring children into this deeply troubled world?

The piece opens with the unexpected eruption at the back of the auditorium of someone who looks like a bag lady complete with an oxygen tube. Amid much laughter, she brashly asks an audience member to help her with her luggage and he complies.

Once onstage, the woman (played by Elena Voce) identifies as Mother Nature and announces that she will be doing a TED talk on the topic of motherhood. Gradually stripping off several layers of clothing, she proceeds to involve the audience in some entertaining interactive sketches.

The moment where she blows up a condom (which turns into a talking foetus) and proceeds to question a rather shy and bewildered young couple about the issues around having children worked particularly well.

This modern take on what is an archetypal figure is extremely funny and witty but also wise, pointing us to some of the hard truths regarding climate change and the perils we are facing.

While Mother Nature says nothing new or profound about her subject, this surreal comedy, with audience participation, can probably reach out to people who would not have attended a more serious play on these issues.