REVIEWS
Libby Liburd Actor & Writer
“Libby Liburd is a single parent. Like 91% of single parents – who head up one in four UK households – she’s a single mother. It’s a status freighted with societal prejudice and economic injustice. Drawing on her own experience of stigma and snobbery as well as the stories of other women, Liburd sets out to explore the realities and debunk the myths surrounding single motherhood. Muvvahood has humour and heart; at its core exists a sense of righteous anger, compassionate curiosity and unabashed parental joy….What’s more shocking is the systematic discrimination meted out by a government determined to dismantle social welfare while peddling spurious neoliberal ideas of meritocracy – the child tax credit ‘rape clause’; the money-skimming ‘commissions’ demanded by the Child Maintenance Service; the grind of working poverty. Liburd relates her own story of vicious internet trolling and illegal eviction, while inhabiting the voices of other mothers with a poignant warmth and compelling emotional depth. This is an excellent work, with occasional blasts of East 17 as an added bonus" The Stage for MUVVAHOOD "Muvvahood’s first half is a lecture/standup fusion peppered with clips from politicians while its second half comprises monologues drawn directly from other mothers’ real experiences. Together, the research and the storytelling feel thorough without loss of emotional backbone, and both sections are, by turns, touching, funny, and challenging…Liburd is a terrific performer and she effortlessly switches between skits and transforms into different characters…Commentary on political noises on single motherhood is lively and woven well against loose sketches and very personal insights into Liburd’s own life as a single mother." Spy in the Stalls for MUVVAHOOD “Muvvahood is more than just a rant about injustice, it’s important, and most parents will relate to Liburd’s stories, and it’s also good light-hearted fun…she’s fun to watch, engaging and likable. It’s a courageous, passionate and honest piece of work and Liburd’s at her best when furious, funny and speaking from personal experience…Director Julie Addy shows a keen eye for pace, movement and the need for the show to be theatrical as well as informative." London Theatre 1 for MUVVAHOOD “Libby Liburd speaks passionately and from the heart, the stories she tells are real, and are presented with brutal openness. A lone parent and a lone performer, speaking out against terrible injustice, Liburd creates a scenario which leaves you thoroughly entertained, but also more aware, and in turn, infuriated…Muvvahood is a performance which punches you in the gut and leaves you reeling, it should be mandatory viewing for every MP before they even set foot in Parliament, and a few news editors would benefit from seeing it too…For the rest of us, it allows us a brief glimpse beyond the stereotype, and past the prejudice, to the women who only want to care for their children" Theatre Weekly for MUVVAHOOD “The show is as informative as it is anecdotal, and a poignant section is reserved for the stories of other single mothers. It is here where Liburd really comes into her own. Switching between footwear to signify the different individuals, she literally puts herself in the shoes of the women she interviewed over several years. Every tale is pleasantly distinctive, but all seem to float along the same line of unnerving hopelessness, and Liburd captures it with startling efficacy and shattering emotion. A piercing horror shoots round the room when we hear that one woman, having been forced into the temporary accommodation that is often visited by abusive husbands, is encouraged to “just ignore the screams”…Grim tales like this remind us how shielded we are by circumstance from these struggles; you can’t and won’t know unless you are a single mother yourself. Consequently, Muvvahood is a crucial uncovering of an intrinsically flawed system failing many women today…Liburd shines with her intimate storytelling ability. Ultimately, it’s time we stop vilifying mothers for the sordid crime of not having a partner" A Younger Theatre for MUVVAHOOD "As a performer Libby has a rare skill; you can hear the collective gasps reverberating around the theatre as she draws you in so completely that you are no longer watching from the sidelines, but living the moment through the eyes of these women...It’s a world that almost two million single mothers inhabit in the UK alone, yet so very few of us ever talk about these experiences. The emotional rollercoaster that Muvvahood takes you on is not only a piece of art, it is a political masterpiece." Ellamental Mama for MUVVAHOOD "With a great sense of timing and a natural gift for comedy...she's not flawless, she's an everywoman and so very relatable... her words never feel less than heartfelt and genuine...As a childfree businesswoman, it both surprises and humbles me how much one 60-minute show has challenged my own preconceptions of how the benefits reforms are affecting real people like Liburd. A lot of political theatre is angry, shouty stuff which fails to get its message across because it focuses solely on the ideology and ignores the importance of the entertainment value. Liburd is much smarter than that, knowing she can find a more sympathetic audience for her cause if she speaks in a way that makes us want to listen. Muvvahood is a sharp, humorous and clever piece of political theatre." Views From The Gods for MUVVAHOOD "The cast are exceptional to say the least...strength and stoicism presented by Libby Liburd’s Bess" London Theatre 1 for KINGS "Libby Liburd captures the mardy Bess perfectly" Theatre Weekly for KINGS "Suberbly acted...riveting and compassionate" The Stage for KINGS Review of Scratch performance of MUVVAHOOD at The Camden People's Theatre on 19th September: "...Libby Liburd in MUVVAHOOD. Liburd’s piece took a more traditional monologue format, but its verbatim explorations of single-motherhood in the age of austerity hit home in an affecting manner. Liburd’s performance was a clear moment of hard political feminism, a stark reminder that, as well as being subject to cultural and implicit discrimination, women still face explicit material and institutional discrimination in housing and welfare, intersected by the vagaries of the class system." Lewis Church, Exeunt Magazine Notable mentions: “...a cross between Joyce Grenfell, Dawn French and Dame Edna Everage” The Stage (Cinderella) “...particularly hilarious...loveable and slapstick” Southend Echo (Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs) “ You're so cute!” Sarah Jessica Parker “ Who are you? You're really funny! ” Duncan from Blue