Review: Raven – Bethan Devonald

Show: Raven
Venue: Assembly Roxy
Star rating: ***
Reviewer: Bethan Devonald

A raven mother is a term used in Germany to describe a mother who cares more about herself than her children. Using physical theatre and monologue, this show navigates what it means to be a raven mother. Raven begins with the performers showcasing their unique and impressive physical theatre abilities one by one. Their grace and talent is captivating to watch and shows us that, despite the calls from agents stopping post-baby, they still have the talent to work in this industry.

The idea of the raven mother is well-embedded throughout the performance using costume. The performers each find a black feather within their costume as if the notion of being a raven mother is haunting them. By the end of the performance they have fully embraced this label as they put on full black feather jackets and perform an aerial routine that creates beautiful imagery of the raven.

Through different physical theatre sequences the performers convey the many struggles that come with a mother. The physical theatre is performed beautifully and is impressive to watch. However, although this performance demonstrated many different struggles of motherhood, I felt the performance did not go any deeper than that. The use of voice-overs seemed to disconnect the performer from the scenario and often the use of comedy prevented the emotional aspect of the scene to develop. Although we were presented with relatable and well performed scenarios that I’m sure many mothers in the audience could connect to- it felt slightly generic and it was often hard to connect to the performers personal feelings about motherhood.

It is only at the end of the performance when we the performers finally talk to the audience live and we get to see into their world through a video of their children that this begins to change. At this point, a sense of the feelings of conflict in being a ‘raven mother’ is conveyed. The pride on their faces after a performance that has listed the difficulties and sacrifices involved in motherhood highlights the conflicting demands of juggling motherhood (and all the expectation that goes along with it) with trying to maintain your career and your independence.

Raven: tickets available here
Assembly Roxy
21-26 August
5.50pm (1 hour)

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