Stratford Circus comedy challenges stereotypes about single mums
Part stand-up, part TED talk and part social commentary, Muvvahood is not the usual cultural view of single mums, according to its creator.
“It is really funny, really upbeat – a lot of fun,” said Libby Liburd, writer and star of the one-woman show about single parenthood, which starts a three-day run at Stratford Circus tonight.
Libby, a 40-year-old single mum of a 15-year-old boy, wrote her one-hour show as an act of rebellion against society’s “depressing” stereotypes which to her were unrecognisable.
“It is really important to me,” she explained. “I know the difference between how I was perceived in a married relationship compared to when I was single.
“Now I am depicted as a broken family, a failure – both me and my child are more likely to become criminals.”
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She adds that this “harsh” statement “certainly does not seem to exist in my world”.
Feeling inspired, Libby researched into the issue, interviewing primarily east London single mothers about their experiences before creating, writing and producing her humorous play.
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“I am naturally a comedy actor,” she said. “That is something I wanted to get through materially.”
Muvvahood has three main parts: firstly an autobiographical section based on Libby and her son’s experiences which she describes as “a little like stand-up comedy”.
This is followed by a probe into politics and economic issues before delving into the voices of the single mums that Libby met.
After starting life as a shorter, work-in-progress piece, Muvvahood toured venues across the capital.
Libby said it was “so important” for her to have the show at Stratford Circus, having been a Walthamstow resident for the last 14 years.
“It is my local theatre and it is on my 158 bus route,” she said.
She adds that as a “colourful show” Muvvahood appeals to wider societal groups in addition to its obvious target audience.
“I’m incredibly proud of it,” she said – and with that it’s back to real life as a hard-working, single mum.
Muvvahood runs from tomorrow (Thurs) until Saturday. Tickets are £13-£15 from stratford-circus.com