I'm a writer with a love of young adult novels, musical theatre and vegetarian food.
Relatable family stories for everyone, especially performers
Overall rating: ★★★
After a sold-out run at Bondi Feast, Sydney-based writer and performer Pippa Ellams is bringing her solo show 'The Sorry Mum Project' to Adelaide Fringe. The show explores the unconventional mother-daughter relationship Pippa shares with the woman who gave her life.
Before hitting the stage, Pippa walks through the audience yelling 'Mum' to make sure she is free to speak honestly about her mother. Not the expected start to a show meant to be an apology.
Pippa borrows some audience member's handbags to represent her mother and herself and how their relationship evolved over the years. Since the show has gone on the road it is clear Pippa's mum still needs more time and effort from Pippa to accept her apology.
Pippa's storytelling ability makes uncomfortable stories funny and heartfelt. And growing up in a showbiz family makes for plenty of material.
Using title cards and a picture slideshow, Pippa tells anecdotes about money trees, fancy dress costumes, Saddle Club, condoms and an unglamorous Parisian trip.
There is an awkward stumble through a story of the first time Pippa got away with lying to her mum. Pippa repeats and recovers quickly but the moment would have been more engaging if she did not acknowledge the mistake.
The show shifts from stories about their relationship to an acknowledgement of her mum's sacrifice to give up her performance ambitions to care for her children. The show makes a profound point about the loss of identity experienced by mothers as they become 'mum' before anything else.
Pippa shows her appreciation for her mother with this show but most importantly by closing the show with a showgirl dance; the career her mother always hoped for her.
A Fringe show may not solve the relationship between Pippa and her mum, but it does inspire you to call your mum and tell her she is beautiful.
The Sorry Mum Project' played for a limited season Feb 27 – Mar 1 at the Adelaide Fringe Festival, however, it is hardly the last chance to see Pippa. Alongside creative partner Hannah Goodwin, Pippa and Hannah's writing company Pip and Han Inc. creates, produces and performs original theatre productions. Follow their Facebook to hear more about their upcoming projects.