I went to see Mother on Wednesday night with no intention of formally reviewing it, but it has left me with so many feelings that I thought I’d jot down some thoughts about it – I’d love to hear yours if you saw it, too!
Noni Hazlehurst could draw sympathy from a stone with her riveting performance in the one-woman play, but that is also the major issue I had with the play itself, particularly the ending – that Hazlehurst's character, Christie, is an object of sympathy, not of empathy. I'm still feeling conflicted the day after seeing it and have been trying to drill down into why.
The piece is a 75-minute monologue, delivered by Hazlehurst in the role of homeless woman Christie, scratching and patting and shuffling as she speaks about the events that led to her current lifestyle, digging through bins and walking the streets of Melbourne. Hazlehurst is barely recognisable in this role, layered in costuming and heavy with the stoic grief and dark, cackling humour of her character. Lighting design by Tom Willis established days and the passing of time, and Kat Chan’s costuming, set, and prop design established the squalid conditions of Christie’s life and few possessions. Sound design by Darius Kedros also assisted in bringing Christie’s world to life – the squawk of birds, rumbling of a train overhead, and the crying of her beloved baby.