The premise of My Mum's a Twat is an enticing one, detailing the gradual estrangement of a Mother-Daughter relationship as the former is increasingly indoctrinated into a cult.
A confessional comedy of sorts, the area in which the performance shines is primarily in its verbal storytelling. The piece is otherwise visually minimalistic; the set is sparse and writer-performer Anoushka Warden faces the audience armed only with a mic and a glass of water. As she does so, she begins with an early disclaimer: "I am not an actor." The moment is tonally significant, establishing the air of refreshing authenticity that proceeds to permeate all aspects of Warden's performance. She dresses casually, shares embarrassing anecdotes unabashedly, and effortlessly engages audiences in a conversational manner, all of which contribute towards a resounding impression of sincerity: Warden performs, but she doesn't act.
This style of performance does have its drawbacks. The frank simplicity of the piece (at times more reminiscent of an entertaining lecture than a play) sometimes runs into tonal conflict with its more theatrical elements, such as the incongruity of Warden's brief digression into performative gangster rap. However, these moments are few and far between, their occasional awkwardness alleviated by Warden's charming, though understated, performance.
The narrative is also relatively tight. Whilst Warden occasionally wanders into meandering anecdotes about rap and Reese's Pieces, the central relationship between Mother, Daughter, and Cult is fairly well covered. All the while, the script remains captivating. Consistently colloquial and comedic, Warden's writing strikes a fine balance between being both crafted and credible. The humour, however, can be detrimental, at times eclipsing the performance's most prominent emotional beats. Whilst frequently touching, the show sometimes struggles to sustain emotional climaxes, which instead build and dissipate without achieving any fully-realised resonance.
The show deliberately shys away from any particularly profound meditations - on moral duty, familial obligation, or the devastating consequences of parental neglect, etc. Rather, Warden's recollections often dwell on her mother's materialistic inadequacies: on birthdays missed, thoughtless presents, etc. This is not to undermine the admirable veracity of the performance, which remains emotionally engaging without being revelatory, which is perhaps in itself an unfair expectation.
My Mum's a Twat is a thoroughly enjoyable experience, largely due to its captivating narrative and appealing honesty. Warden tactfully guides audiences through the disappointments and unexpected joys of her experience, without ever submerging them in the depths of her loss, thereby broadening the accessibility of her story.