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A CurtainUp London Review
My Mum's a Twat
"I was twelve and you were an adult and you chose to be my mother and you chose to give your brain over to a fucked up cult and go and live a new life in a country very far away from me you twat." — The Girl
My Mum's a Twatv
Patsy Ferran as the girl (Photo: Helen Murray)
Anoushka Warden's debut play draws on her own experiences and is voiced through her teenage self — spikey and acerbic with the ability to cut through nonsense, excuse and spin. The playwright describes her account as "an unreliable version of a true story filtered through a hazy memory and vivid imagination." This self deprecating proviso will cover her should she have exaggerated any details but the whole has a ring of truth, albeit the truth of a teenage girl's experience of the deficiencies of her being parented.

Her extended family is very complicated with seven children from three mothers and two fathers, but she is the youngest and living with her mother. The adaptations required of children when their parents' allegiances and romances shift are well researched but Anoushka's mother not only chooses as a second husband, a fellow her daughter detests and calls "Moron" but her mother and Moron also get involved with a New Age Meditation Centre, "The Heal Thyself Centre for Self-Realisation and Transcendence" which rewrites their priorities.

We are introduced to step father Moron through a shocking description of physical injury inflicted on the girl (Patsy Ferran) when he drags her out of the car when collecting her from school. But it isn't so much her bleeding head which disturbs our feisty narrator but the humiliation at this treatment in front of her school friends.

As if the Evil Stepfather wasn't enough, the girl then has to suffer the influence the "Heal Thyself Centre" has on her mother, and then her step father and on her family life. Then comes the bombshell that her mother wants to move to Canada and take her younger daughter with her. Indicative of our narrator's personality is when the school expresses concern because a teacher picks up on how she hasn't "been cheeky to anyone all week."

The spirited account of her adventures in Canada, where she goes on vacation after choosing to stay in England and live with her father, are graphic and fun. Teenage romance and Tupac's rap songs nourish her and My Mum's a Twat turns into a "coming of age story".

Patsy Ferran sustains the narration with plenty of physical variety assisted by able direction from Vicky Featherstone and Jude Christian to keep the momentum fresh over 75 minutes with a sole actor. Let's us hope we can remember Patsy Ferran for this year's Best Newcomer awards in December!

This first play from Anoushka Warden shows plenty of skill with wit and colourful description through the psyche of an edgy teenage girl while firmly nailing the culprit — the bogus maharishi type exploiting the gullible with a pseudo-religious message of love and spirituality.

Warden's descriptions of the guru are laugh out loud as is the photograph (online) of the "Nata" with her hands clasped in blessing, her expression both prim and blank and not at all inviting, except for ridicule. The bleeding dry of the the writer's family property and resources by the cult is less laughable as is their responsibility in putting their greedy financial needs before the emotional needs of a child for her mother.





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PRODUCTION NOTES
My Mum's a Twat
Written by Anoushka Warden
Directed by Vicky Featherstone and Jude Christian
Starring: Patsy Ferran
Design: Chloe Lamford
Lighting Design: Steven Binks
Music and Sound Design: Duramaney Kamara
Running time: One hour 15 minutes without an interval
Box Office: 020 7565 5000
Booking to 20th January 2018
Reviewed by Lizzie Loveridge based on 10th January 2018 performance at Jerwood Space Upstairs, Royal Court Theatre, Sloane Square London SW1W 8AS (Tube: Sloane Square)
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