Old Red Lion, London – until 22 July 2017
If a close relative’s dying wish makes you physically sick, are you still obliged to carry it out? Sarah Kosar’s play Mumburger explores how far familial obligation can go in the days and weeks after Andrea, mother of Tiffany (Rosie Wyatt) and wife of Hugh (Andrew Frame), is killed by a Birdseye truck on the M25.
Andrea was a strict vegan, which Tiffany and Hugh mostly went along with, but her dying wish is perhaps taking things a bit far. You see, Andrea’s had her remains delivered to them as burgers, which she wants them eat as a “digestive memorial”. What follows is Hugh and Tiffany’s struggle with and slow acceptance of this task, which they undertake whilst trying to deal with their own grief – and each other’s.
The dying wish, as shocking and disgusting as it is, turns out not to be the big problem, here. This is really a play about how differently a father and daughter see their wife/mother, and how a selfish desire to make people behave in a certain way, or to own all of the grief for themselves, can tear a family apart.
The premise of Mumburger is quite a challenging one within which to explore these issues, but it’s not sensationalist, and the cast and director Tommo Fowler ensure it’s played with seriousness and intelligence. For a one-act play, there’s certainly plenty to digest!