Theatre review: Mother Tongue, Summerhall (Venue 26), Edinburgh

Scotsman / Sally Stott

A ONE-WOMAN show about trying to get pregnant may sound like the kind of 
self-absorbed piece best avoided, but Summerhall isn’t your average Fringe venue and writer/performer Jillian Lauren isn’t an
average right-on, middle-class hippy from LA.

For a start, she knows how to poke fun at herself and those around her.

Through a clever story that makes imaginative use of digital media, Lauren playfully sends up herself and three characters: a frazzled Bel Air mom who makes video diaries on “therapeutic parenting”, a gum-chewing girl adopted from Malawi and a drug addict forced to give up her child. Able to mimic those she meets with accuracy and compassion, Lauren is glamourous, funny and likeable.

After trying out a long list of alternative therapies to help her conceive, Lauren decides to adopt a child from Ethiopia. The wider debate surrounding taking children from Third World countries isn’t explored, but as an adopted child herself, Lauren gives thought-provoking insights into our need to feel like we belong somewhere.