Tiffany (Rosie Wyatt) seems very logical about death – who knew it would be so complicated? Funeral arrangements, wills, certificates; the Google spreadsheet goes on and on. She’s not ok of course, her mother has just died in a car crash.
Father Hugh (Andrew Frame) is not nearly as logical – he’s not really very anything, a vacant stare and quiet demeanour that Frame produces so well. Then Mum lays out her posthumous request, a digestive memorial. Mumburger is a very descriptive title for Sarah Kosar’s latest work.
Once the audience gets over the absurdity of it all, it’s easy to buy into the situation, even if it is one no one ever expected to find themselves in. Kosar’s dialogue transcends the descriptive into the emotional – a daughter has lost her mother and best friend; a husband has lost his wife and childhood sweetheart. The two are left with each other and Tiffany (Wyatt) is less than impressed. As the originator to this role, Wyatt effortlessly conveys the layered performance typical of a twenty-something millennial, exasperated with the older generation’s lack of drive or ease of connectivity.
Despite Tiffany’s insistence to push everything forward, Mumburger never feels rushed. Tommo Fowler gives space and pace in equal measure, static scenes that build to a point before projections intersperse the dialogue with internal, opposing contemplation. Tiffany uses spoken word and Youtube clips of public disasters; Hugh watches Father of the Bride in an attempt to rediscover the loved and lost. The rituals (and there are many of them) are personal, respectful and touching. Who is society to dictate a method for grieving, or an occasion for remembrance? Have a funeral, or eat your mother in a burger. It keeps Mum alive in their memories.
Mumburger as a meal is greater than the sum of its ingredients. Instantly believable performances from Wyatt and Frame generate a relationship that feels established and relevant. Charlotte Henery’s complementary design expands upon Fowler’s vision without ever intruding on an intimate, private situation, in which the audience can observe without feeling imposters. And above it all sits Kosar’s script – simple, if a little off the wall, and humble. Hail to Mumburger, full of life.
Director: Tommo Fowler
Producer: Hannah Tookey
Writer: Sarah Kosar
Design: Charlotte Henery
Cast: Andrew Frame; Rosie Wyatt
Mumburger plays at the Old Red Liob Theatre until 22 July 2017. For more information or to book tickets, please visit the website.