Mouthpiece by Quote Unquote Collective – Summerhall at King’s Hall, Edinburgh

Two women in white swimsuits harmonising in a bath in the dark is the prelude to a heartfelt and compelling, but rather unfocussed show about mothers and daughters. The sudden death of her mother leads single, flat dwelling writer Cass to question her identity and choices, and to ask whether she really knew her mother at all. Her failure to get out of the bath and write a euology for the funeral becomes an examination of the roles of women in society, and whether have really changed for the better.

The show is expertly performed by Amy Nostbakken, who also directs, as Cass and Norah Sadava as her alter ego, conscience and self. They use their fine voices and physical theatre skills to shape the story, but the variety of techniques does not always improve their clarity. While some ideas illuminate, the profusion of comic voices and operatic bathtub duets clouds the piece. Mouthpiece takes on important, uncomfortable themes, but is at its best when dealing with the awful banalities of bereavement. The everyday expresses the universal most effectively, and Mouthpiece feels as though it is trying to hard.

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